Laura Leong, High-Performance Skills Coach
Combining her passion for creativity and coaching, Laura has established herself as a leading designer and a respected lecturer in FE. With over 30 years’ experience working in industry and education, Laura joins the WorldSkills UK Centre of Excellence as a High-Performance Skills Coach.
Beginning her career as a florist, Laura went onto complete a BA (Hons) in Fine Art at Wolverhampton University. Mentoring apprentices in the shop she worked inspired Laura to make the move into education and she completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching.
Laura’s career has taken her all over the world. She has exhibited at The Gardening World Cup in Nagaski, Japan, at Fleuramour in Belgium, which see the world’s leading flower designers demonstrate their skills, and at Interflora South Africa. On home turf, Laura has won RHS Chelsea Florist of the Year twice, was crowed Interflora Florist of the Year, in 2018 and in 2019 she represented the UK at the Interflora World Cup in Philadelphia, USA.
Having competed throughout her career, Laura is a passionate believer that competition experience can support all young people in building their confidence and reaching their full potential. It was this belief that saw Laura introduce her students to WorldSkills UK Competitions when she was lecturing at South Staffordshire College(back then). During her time at the College, her students enjoyed national and international competition success, with representation at WorldSkills London and many students achieving medals at the Chelsea Flower Show. Laura’s competition legacy lives on at Moreton Morrell, which is now part of the Warwickshire College Group, with the College having strong representation at the WorldSkills UK National Finals in 2019 and in Squad UK for WorldSkills Shanghai 2021.
In 2017, Laura was appointed WorldSkills UK Training Manager for Floristry. Under her leadership, the UK has reached the world class standard in Floristry at EuroSkills Budapest 2018 and at WorldSkills Kazan 2019. Working with skill experts from over 80 countries, Laura is playing an integral role in ensuring the latest industry standards are reflected in the WorldSkills Competition, which will next be held in Shanghai, China in 2021.
Continuing in her role as Training Manager, Laura will draw on her international network of skill experts across a wide range of skills, to help shape and inform the work of the Centre of Excellence. Determined to ensure that more young people can benefit from WorldSkills UK’s insight into global skills development practices, Laura will help deliver on the shared ambition of WorldSkills UK and NCFE to mainstream world-class standards, helping thousands of young people boost their potential.
Commenting on her appointment, Laura said: “In these challenging times, it is vital that young people across the UK are equipped with a world-class skillset and mindset. By influencing change at grassroots level across FE, the WorldSkills UK Centre of Excellence will help raise standards and deliver on this and I’m proud and excited to be part of this new initiative.”