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Hedydd - Squad UK Restaurant Service competitor

Hedydd is part of the Squad UK Restaurant Service team. She explains what she's learnt on her WorldSkills UK journey and how taking part in our world-class training programme has benefited her career. 

Hedydd in her Squad UK t-shirt

Wednesday, 19 Aug 2020

The seeds were sown for Hedydd Davies’ decision to begin a career in hospitality at an early age. “Since I was young, I’ve had a passion for baking. I’d watch my mother baking various cakes in our family kitchen and she’d always pour her love and passion into each bake. Visiting my grandmother would be a similar experience, there’d always be a freshly baked cake cooling on a wire rack at the ready for our weekly visit. I always knew hospitality was the career for me, so I decided to study at Coleg Ceredigion in Cardigan after I’d finished my GCSEs. I like to think of myself as a people person, which is the best trait for any hospitality server.”

Since she heard about the WorldSkills UK Competitions through her college, Hedydd was keen to take part, doing so in 2019. “My tutor believed that I had the skills and personality to compete with the Restaurant Service competitions firstly in the national Welsh competitions and then in the WorldSkills UK National Finals.

"The support that I had with my college, family and friends was overwhelming, and I’m very glad I took my tutor’s advice, this journey has already opened many doors for me.”

Hedydd enjoyed competing and asked about her favourite parts she listed as top the National Finals held as part of WorldSkills UK LIVE at the NEC Birmingham watched by thousands of spectators. “Competing in front of the public was a big challenge for me but I overcame this by concentrating on my task and enjoying the sensation that they were there, in a way willing me on to do my best! It was both on and off the competition floor that Hedydd benefited from. “I built some great friendships with my fellow competitors and after three days of tough competition, we all finally managed to relax without the tension of the competition on our shoulders and with the buzz of the prizegiving evening ahead of us. It’s a day I won’t forget!”

Although Hedydd didn’t win a medal, she was selected to be a member of Squad UK. “I couldn’t believe that I had been selected and I can only describe it as an incredible sensation. I felt like my journey of over two years had built up to this. I was over the moon! My second favourite part is the Loughborough boot camp, where every member of Squad UK signed the UK flag. This was an honour to take part in and a fantastic way to symbolise the start a great journey with WorldSkills UK.”

Part of the journey involves meeting other young hopefuls in a broad range of skills as Squad UK members undergo the skill set and mindset training that WorldSkills is so renowned for and which sets it apart from all other skills competitions.

Aside from honing her skills in the competitions Hedydd has picked up extra advantages which will help in her career journey. “I have learned to believe in myself. I’ve had a great time competing and met some amazing people along my journey. I’ve made some great friendships that will hopefully last a lifetime and I’ve learned that I have what it takes to push myself out of my comfort zone to complete great things.” This self-belief and ability and willingness to take on challenges are important traits that employers value along with other employability skills such as time management, communications and resilience.

Hedydd demonstrating her restaurant service skills

“Competing and joining Squad UK has definitely benefited my career! Since starting my journey, I’ve had business cards handed to me asking if I’d like an apprenticeship or a full-time career, I’ve been given names of some truly amazing people in the hospitality industry if I need any assistance.

"My local newspaper and magazines have featured articles about my success with WorldSkills UK, which has opened many doors for my career around where I live. The support has been amazing!”

However her competition journey goes from here, Hedydd has her aims set high. “Hopefully, I’ll reach my goal of becoming a restaurant or even a hotel manager of a popular establishment, providing an unforgettable experience for my guests. I’d like to work in a city like London, or even Paris if I’m brave enough! I’d like to open my own establishment one day, providing my guests with the best hospitality experience possible, and some incredible food to compete with the best restaurants around.”

Hedydd feels she has had lots of support for her competition journey and career progression so far, “I’ve had some amazing support from my parents, educators and the Welsh Government. I’ve had generous funding to help with my training. It’s hard to keep motivated for training during the COVID-19 pandemic, maybe more support and guidance to keep motivation high would be good.

Osian Jones of Crwst contemporary restaurant, bar and deli and Hedydd’s line manager is keen to support her in the WorldSkills UK Competitions saying, “Both I and the team are very proud of Hedydd. We’re all about providing a great and unforgettable service at Crwst, and it’s great to see Hedydd representing this in the WorldSkills UK Competitions. I offer as much support and guidance as I can before Hedydd competes by ensuring she gets the time off to practise. As a team we’re always here to talk through any ideas she may have and we’ve also got a bar that she can access to practise her cocktail making skills!

“Her attention to detail, the way she presents herself, along with working well within our team puts herself in a great position going forward in the WorldSkills UK Competition. They are a great way to showcase our talent on a huge platform and I’m sure Hedydd has been an inspiration to her fellow team members here at Crwst. She has been with us from day one and we really hope she’ll succeed in the competition!”

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