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Chloe - Squad UK Cooking competitor

Chloe was selected for the Squad UK Cooking team after winning a Gold Medal in Culinary Arts in 2018. She reflects on the invaluable knowledge and skills that being involved in our international training programme has given her. 

Chloe with her Gold Medal

Thursday, 27 Aug 2020

Unlike most young people in secondary education, Chloe Lloyd-Hughes had no doubt about the career sector she wanted to pursue. “Catering has always been in the family, and I was always into the subject at school which inspired my career choice.”

She heard about WorldSkills UK through her tutor at college and was keen to get involved and start stretching her skills and abilities saying, “This was a great competition to boost my confidence and skills as a chef. I first competed in the National Qualifiers in 2018 and went on to the National Finals later that year where I won a Gold Medal.”

The National Finals are hosted at WorldSkills UK LIVE the UK’s largest skills, careers and apprenticeships event held at the NEC Birmingham and attracting thousands of young people keen to see a high standard of skills performed by budding professionals not much older than themselves.

The thrill of competing is what Chloe likes best saying, “The challenge of the competition is my favourite part as it pushes you to always do better. She has benefited from some important lessons which will also serve her well in the workplace.

“I have learned that preparation is key, and you need to put in the time and effort to get to where you want to be. My favourite part is the amount of knowledge I have gained since being a Squad UK member, I wouldn’t have got it anywhere else.”

Part of the formula for competition success is dealing with issues around technical skills and approach. For Chloe this has meant dealing with her biggest challenge of low self-confidence. “I try to overcome this by pushing myself and not doubting myself as much and believing that I can do it.” Skills such as confidence, resilience, time-management and teamwork are all highly valued by employers looking for the best recruits for their businesses.

Asked what advice she has for those thinking about entering WorldSkills UK Competitions she says, “Go for it, it is a wonderful organisation, that will support you throughout your journey, you’ll make some great friends and it’s an amazing experience.”

Chloe believes that competing has helped her develop outside of the competition arena.

“It has definitely developed my studies, as I have gained so much knowledge that I wouldn’t get anywhere else, my training manager Sean Owens has a wealth of knowledge that he has shared with us and I am very grateful.”

That knowledge gain continues as Chloe has been selected as a member of Squad UK and is undergoing the intensive skill set and mindset training that is the hallmark of WorldSkills UK’s competitor development programme and will prepare her for possible selection to Team UK and the chance to represent the UK on the international stage. “I’m very proud of myself for getting to carry my journey on further, and excited for the challenge ahead. It would be amazing be able to compete in EuroSkills or WorldSkills, It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Outside of competition Chloe has a clear plan for her future. “I want to be able to work my way up through the kitchen brigade (hierarchy), and would like to travel and gain more experience.” 

Peter Ayres, owner Sunnyside Inn and Chloe’s Line Manager always believed Chloe had a bright future. “I first met Chloe with her family, when she was around 15 years old where she spoke to me about her interest in going to college to train to be a chef, even after explaining about the long hours, poor social life etc she still went ahead and made us all super proud.

“Chloe joined my team of chefs on a part-time basis as soon as she started college and it was obvious from the outset that she had the passion, attitude and willingness to strive to succeed. Since completing her initial chef training she has gone on to complete further kitchen management training and is without doubt an integral part of the brigade. Her professionalism rubs off on the rest of the team and we are all really proud of Chloe and what she has achieved so far and wait with anticipation to see what's next for her.”

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