From education to employment

The Sheffield College’s national finalists compete in WorldSkills UK

Three learners who have honed their skills at The Sheffield College (@sheffcol) are competing in the WorldSkills UK (@worldskillsuk) National Finals.

The national finalists are competing for gold, silver and bronze medals in a series of skills competitions taking place this month.

Approximately 400 students and apprentices from across the country are taking part in 64 vocational disciplines to be crowned national skills champions.

The three current and former learners at The Sheffield College who have earned a WorldSkills UK National Finals place are:

  • Current student Ophelia Tilly, who is competing in confectionary
  • Alumnus student Edie Hanna, who is competing in health and social care
  • Alumnus apprentice Joshua Groody, who is competing in floristry

Ophelia Tilly, 18, who is studying a Foundation Degree in Bakery and Patisserie at The Sheffield College, said:

“I feel proud of myself for getting through to the finals. When I found out, I began preparing straight away – coming up with ideas and recipes, and then putting them into practice. 

“I enjoy everything about my course. I love creating different recipes and trying new things. The skills that I have are definitely my passion and the College has allowed me to develop my skills and helped me to improve.

“My long-term career ambition is to travel with my work and then eventually set up my own bakery/patisserie.”

Edie Hanna, 18, has progressed to a Degree in Mental Health Nursing at Manchester Metropolitan University after completing a Health and Social Care Extended Diploma Level 3 at the College’s Hillsborough Campus.

She said: “I am so happy to be in the WorldSkills UK National Finals. I never expected to get this far but I am so glad I have! I absolutely loved my time at The Sheffield College. I made some great friends and we all loved our experience.

“Being at the College greatly improved my confidence and communication skills. All of my tutors were so supportive and caring, I learnt so much.

“My career ambition is to become a mental health nurse. Often, you’ll be working in teams, needing to pass on information or talking to a service user. Communication skills are so important for working in the health and social care sector.”

Joshua Groody, 30, completed a City and Guilds Diploma in Work-Based Floristry at Level 3 and an apprenticeship earlier this year. He recently started a full-time job as a florist at Flourish in Crookes after freelancing over the summer with Plantology and Campbells Flowers.

Joshua’s ambition is to gain more commercial experience and participate in more competitions such as the Harrogate Flower Shows in 2022, before studying for a Higher Diploma in Floristry.

Joshua said:

“I am very pleased to have got through to the finals representing The Floristry School at The Sheffield College, and thanks to Joanne Biddle and the team at Plantology Floral Creations for their inspiration, encouragement, advice and support during my apprenticeship. I have gained a lot from the wealth of experience shared by the tutors and other florists in the community.”

He added: “The thing I enjoyed most about my course was having the space to experiment with techniques to produce designs I wouldn’t have the time to make in a busy shop, which has helped me to hone my style and familiarity with botanical materials.

“Technical skills are an important aspect of floristry for producing varied designs to a professional standard, from spiralling stems to more intricate structures and wired work, and I am particularly interested in returning to older mediums such as moss and chicken wire as more environmentally sustainable alternatives to floral foam.”

Angela Foulkes, Chief Executive and Principal, The Sheffield College, said:

“It’s brilliant to see Ophelia, Edie and Joshua develop the skills and confidence to secure a place in the WorldSkills UK National Finals. We are very proud of them and wish them every success as they go further in their careers.”

Ben Blackledge, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, WorldSkills UK, said:

“I want to offer my congratulations to all those that took part in our programme this year, especially the finalists. After a year without competitions due to the pandemic it was really encouraging to see so many people back involved this year.

“Our competitions and competition-based development programmes equip apprentices and students with the lifelong, world-class skills that will help increase UK productivity and competitiveness.”

He added: “We are really excited to be taking the show on the road this year with finals hosted by colleges, training providers and employers across the UK. We hope seeing the finals will inspire young people at those venues to keep developing their technical and employability skills and recognise what can be achieved by developing excellence through skills.”

 This year sees the WorldSkills UK National Finals taking place at 22 locations across the UK from November 9th to 19th, 2021. The winners will be crowned at a ceremony hosted by TV presenter Steph McGovern from her Packed Lunch studio on November 26th, 2021.

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