- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
A local politician was in the audience to cheer a Coleg Sir Gâr student who scooped a prestigious prize at this year’s National Vocational Qualification (VQ) Awards.
20 year-old aspiring restaurateur Elizabeth Forkuoh from Llanelli won VQ Intermediate Learner of the Year at The VQ Awards, held at St David’s Hotel, Cardiff, on Tuesday (7 June) evening.
Elizabeth invited Assembly member Joyce Watson to join her, having met Mrs Watson when the Labour AM visited Coleg Sir Gar’s Pibwrlwyd campus in Carmarthen recently.
Ms Forkuoh is studying a level three NVQ diploma in hospitality, supervision and leadership, while working part-time at the Stradey Park Hotel. She said:
“I like cooking but it is the restaurant side I really enjoy. I’d love to continue to develop my skills and go to university with the hope of owning my own Italian restaurant. My family come from Italy and I really enjoy the relaxed culture and the Italian way of eating and preparing food.”
Mrs Watson said:
“I was delighted to join Elizabeth as her guest. She is an extremely talented young woman and I wish her every success. She is an outstanding young student with a bright future ahead.”
Elizabeth, who moved to Llanelli when she was 15 and speaks Italian, English, Twi, French and some Welsh, won a gold medal for Wales in the category of Restaurant Service at The Skills Show, held at Birmingham’s NEC last November.
She now has secured a coveted place on the WorldSkills Squad UK and hopes to compete in the WorldSkills competition in Abu Dhabi next year. She has deferred her degree in hotel management until 2018 to focus on upcoming competitions.
The Ceremony was hosted by TV presenter Sian Lloyd. The annual event, organised by the Welsh Government, the National Training Federation for Wales and ColegauCymru / CollegesWales, celebrates the achievements of both learners and employers across Wales.
Linda Thomas, lecturer in catering and hospitality at Coleg Sir Gâr, who is also Sector Champion for Social and Professional Services for the Inspiring Excellence in Wales project, explained:
“We nominated Elizabeth for this award as she’s shown outstanding commitment to her studies.
“She’s an exemplar student who has the motivation, skills and attitude to make a very successful career in her field.”
Welsh Government skills minister Julie James added:
“High quality vocational qualifications are essential to provide individuals and businesses with the skills, experience, motivation and inspiration they need to get ahead.
“Many of our VQ Awards finalists this year are demonstrating that they are marked out as future leaders or ambitious entrepreneurs and have an eye on making sound business decisions and increasing productivity.
“Through their ambition to better their own careers and businesses, these finalists are helping build a stronger society and healthier economy for Wales.”
Skills Competition Wales is designed to promote the importance of vocational skills and developing a highly-skilled workforce with the aim of boosting the overall skill level and prosperity of Wales.
Supported by the European Social Fund, the Welsh Government is funding a total of 32 Skills Competitions in 2015 in a range of sectors, from welding and brickwork to popular music and web design.