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Molly - Squad UK Health and Social Care competitor

Molly was selected for the Squad UK Health and Social Care team after winning a Silver Medal at the 2019 National Finals. She describes how our international training programme has helped her to develop excellence in her skill, raised her self-confidence and made her more employable. 

Molly in her Squad UK t-shirt

Thursday, 13 Aug 2020

Molly Lawton like many young people wasn’t at all sure of what her next steps would be after finishing her GCSEs. “In all honesty, I didn't get the entry requirements to do A-levels, so Pembrokeshire College offered me a place on their Health Science Extended Diploma instead.” Molly’s career aim was to study at university. “At first I was quite unsure about doing the course as my school had led me to believe that A-levels were the only way to get into university. But It’s the best decision I've made in my life so far!”

She first learned about WorldSkills UK Competitions through College. “I heard about them from one of my amazing tutors Claire Steel. I first competed in the Welsh version of the competition, ‘Inspiring Skills Wales’, along with two other girls from the health and social care department at my college. Unfortunately, I didn't get placed but Claire encouraged me to go for the WorldSkills UK. Competition. I wouldn't be where I am today without her!”

Molly first competed in the National Qualifiers in June 2019, where she shone and achieved first place. She went on to the National Finals in November that year held as part of WorldSkills UK LIVE at the NEC Birmingham and is seen by thousands of spectators keen to see competitors not much older than themselves, pit their skills against the best of their peers. Molly once again triumphed and won a coveted Silver Medal.

Competing is an exciting journey which Molly has made the most of, and which has made her a more rounded practitioner. “I’ve enjoyed learning new things about my skill and myself and meeting so many amazing and talented people. I’ve learned how broad a skill Health and Social Care is. Before competing, I thought that you just had to help your patient or client and that it would be easy and simple however, it’s not! You have to know and understand so much, readily adapt to any situation that occurs and be confident when caring for your patient or client.”

Developing these soft skills is of critical importance not just in the health and social care sector but across industry sectors as employers value them highly alongside technical skills and help them identify the best recruits.

Building her self-confidence has been a particular development goal for Molly, she says, “Before competing I couldn't even speak to someone new without psyching myself out, let alone compete with a microphone on in front of thousands of people and be judged on it. A big part of my skill is making sure that it is patient or client centred. So, you have to be confident and effective in how you communicate with them, along with making sure that they know they are in good hands, so confidence is key! I’ve been delving deeper into my skill, working with my amazing training manager, performance coach and other staff and building relationships with the rest of the talented Squad UK.”

Asked how competing has helped her in her day-to-day practice Molly says,

“It’s taught me so much about my skill that you just don't learn in textbooks and on courses without having the practical experience of it. Because of this, I feel that it has also made me more employable and hopefully, will aid me in creating a solid university application next year."

Molly has come a long way from first competing to making it into Squad UK and she still can’t quite believe it. “There's no words to describe it! I convinced myself that I had come in last place at the National Finals so to get the Silver Medal was a massive shock, let alone learning a couple of months later that I was good enough to be offered a place in Squad UK. It still feels unreal even now to think that I’m training as part of Squad UK. It’s incredible!”

As a member of Squad UK Molly is undergoing the intensive skill set and mindset training which is unique to WorldSkills UK and akin to elite sports training which will help her develop further. Membership of Squad UK puts her in the running to join Team UK and compete on the international stage at EuroSkills, or WorldSkills against the best from over 60 countries.

“It would mean so much to me to be able to showcase my skill and what I've learned on this journey, internationally. It would be unreal and amazing to be offered that opportunity.”

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