Aaliyah’s family home is in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire and at the moment she’s in her third year as a residential student at Derwen College, Gobowen, in Shropshire, which is a specialist college for young adults with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Aaliyah chose to go to Derwen to help with her plans for her future, “I think it’s really good to get some cooking skills and it will be useful for my future, by getting a job and being in supported living.”
She first heard about WorldSkills UK Competitions at college and was pleased to join to show off her skills. Her first competition was in the Foundation Skills National Qualifiers in September 2021. After her success there she went on to take part in the Foundation Skills National Finals in November 2021 which were hosted at Derwen College.
Asked what her favourite thing about competing was Aaliyah says, “It was designing my menu.” Competitions mimic real workplace and are a test of technical and other skills. For Aaliyah the hardest thing was, “Getting the two portions to look exactly the same.” Aside from showing skills the competitions are also a learning opportunity as Aaliyah has found:
I have learned how to make a whole meal with all the courses going well together.
To other young people thinking about entering skills competitions Aaliyah is very positive in her advice saying, “Just go for it!”
Aaliyah’s training and competition experience will set her up well as her ambition is to, “Get a job in hospitality, working in a hotel or something like that.”
Covid 19 has impacted everyone and made us all do things differently and Aaliyah is no exception. “It has meant that we have to do even more to keep everything clean. The café and restaurant at college had to close. It was good to serve staff at the takeout that we set up but I would rather work with real customers outside because there is more to do and it is more interesting.”