Gower College Swansea
Nicola Grant-Rees is a Hospitality Demonstrator and WorldSkills UK Instructor at Gower College Swansea. She uses WorldSkills UK Competitions to enhance the training she offers her students, helping them develop their competitive edge.
Why did you choose to get involved in skills competition activity?
I chose to participate in skills competition because they enrich the student experience, while at the same time increasing my own job satisfaction. It is incredibly rewarding watching students achieve success and develop their skills to get ready for the workplace.
Being involved with WorldSkills UK Competitions has been the most enjoyable, rewarding experience and I fully intend to train all my students who would like to enter.
What practical things do you do to embed skills competition activity into the curriculum?
During student induction week the Hospitality team introduce competition activities to get students familiar with team work and to enjoy the feeling of competitive spirit.
All of our students benefit from the skills competition training, as it has become part of the curriculum to prepare them for their assessments. I have also aligned my assessments to mirror the Advanced Food Service UK competition brief, which allows the students to practise their skills at all practical sessions. Students who really enjoy competing then have a chance to train for skills competitions.
How did you ensure equality of opportunity when selecting participants for your competitions?
All students at all levels are invited to training sessions to see if they enjoy competition activity. We also take part in the WorldSkills UK Inclusive Skills Competitions for SEND students. The pre-competition activity allows the college to determine who competes in the regional rounds and we always enter the maximum number of competitors.
What have been the main challenges you encountered in relation to organising and delivering skills competition activity?
The main challenges are the time restraints that students and staff face. If the student is successful through regional rounds it is a big commitment for student and staff to train for the National Finals at WorldSkills UK LIVE in Birmingham – but the most incredible opportunity. All staff and students involved are in agreement that it is one of the most rewarding experiences and worth the extra commitment.
How have you overcome these challenges?
I have tried to embed all skills into my timetable and make sure the students are able to train during weekends and holidays if necessary. I am incredibly fortunate to have excellent past students that are still mentors for the current competitors, showing incredible commitment to the college and continuing to provide master classes.
How has your organisation benefited from participating in skills competition activity?
The college has benefited greatly – we have developed excellent relationships with key industry players who take students for work experience and help raise the college’s profile within the Hospitality industry. It is great kudos for the college and local businesses to have a WorldSkills UK Competitor as their ambassador.