Zara lives in Leeds and studies at Leeds College of Building. She has applied a ‘can do’ attitude right from her early years, “Growing up I faced a lot of challenges because if you wanted something done you had to do it yourself. Me being who I am means I’ll give anything a go and if I can’t do it, it doesn’t get done.”
This practical outlook on life influenced Zara’s early career ideas and allowed for a change of mind too. “From the age of six I really wanted to be an electrician and was always fixing electrical objects. Just after my 16th birthday I decided I didn’t want to be one anymore and had a look at other trades because I knew at least that I still wanted to work in a trade. I came across plastering and thought I would give it a go not even knowing that it involved competitions. I was inspired by the people around me because whatever path I chose they would have supported me.”
First hearing about WorldSkills UK Competitions from her college tutor Zara was keen to demonstrate her skills, “They asked me if I wanted to do the competition:
I turned round and said, “There is a competition for this?” and it spiralled from there because as I say, I will give anything a go.
Zara first competed in the National Qualifiers in June 2021 and just a few weeks later in mid-November she took part in the National Finals. Her favourite aspect of taking part was the experience itself and seeing how people work differently to others in the same skill.
Competing came with some challenges, “The biggest was not being able to get my ceiling on and I decided the best thing to do would be to just leave it off.” Aside from demonstrating her skills Zara found that she learned a lot from competing including the importance of working accurately at a fast pace. She feels that having competed gives her an advantage in the workplace and has even had job offers as a result. She’s still studying and has managed to improve her qualifications and take on more courses at college.
Asked what she would say to someone thinking about entering a WorldSkills UK competition, Zara is enthusiastic saying:
Go for it because as long as you believe in yourself you can do anything and overcome anything. Even getting the experience of entering a competition and knowing that you could become one of the best in the UK gives you massive opportunities.
Zara feels that the quality of her skills has developed since leaving competition, “I’ve learned that if you work fast, you have more time to double-check places”. Her career is still in its early stages and she has identified her goals for the future, “I want to have my own company and get employees to the level I am at.”
She believes there needs to be some changes to education and training saying, “I’d like to see young people taught that it’s okay to make mistakes and give them the opportunities to do a little bit of everything. Allow schools to do a trades lesson once a term and get a qualified tradesman in to teach what they are qualified in and what they do as a job.”