A desire to inspire others to be the best has resulted in hospitality mentor and ambassador Collette Gorvett being named VQ Intermediate Learner of the Year at the Vocational Qualifications (VQ) Awards 2019.
Collette received the prestigious award at a ceremony held at the National Museum in Cardiff on May 15. Now in their 12th year, the coveted VQ Awards celebrate those who use technical, practical and vocational qualifications to achieve success.
The award is a symbol of dedication towards a chosen profession. The awards help to celebrate those Welsh learners, trainers and employers who are already going that extra mile when it comes to developing vocational skills and qualifications.
Collette’s three-year progression at Gower College Swansea from Level 1 Diploma in Professional Cookery through to Level 3 Diploma in Advanced Professional Cookery Kitchen & Larder has been exemplary. Her success in six qualifications was recognised with the College’s Hospitality Student of the Year award in 2018.
But it is her involvement in Welsh, UK and ultimately European Skills competitions that have made her an outstanding advocate for vocational learning. Her latest success was part of the four-strong UK team that finished ninth out of 27 competing European nations in the Euro Skills competition held in Budapest, Hungary last year.
Now Welsh speaking Collette’s efforts have been recognised as this year’s winner of the VQ Intermediate Learner of the Year category.
Said Collette: “Winning this award really means a lot to me. It shows that whether you have disabilities like dyslexia or if you’re a woman or a man you can do really well in vocational education, and that you don’t have to follow the pathway of going to university. This award will help my future career because it really shows that I am one of the best vocational education learners in Wales.”
Many of the 19-year-old’s skills were refined in the College’s Vanilla Pod restaurant and at a local Grill House, whilst juggling the demands of study, social and home life.
Last year Collette took a full time role for a time at the Ritz in London, giving her the opportunity to perfect her restaurant service skills that include bar and barista work plus fine dining table service. Collette now gives masterclasses to up and coming competitors and acts as a mentor and ambassador for Inspiring Skills at several Welsh colleges.
She has shared her experiences with Assembly Member Eluned Morgan, spoken on the work of Worldskills to Lords and MPs in the House of Commons and before the year is out she will represent the UK in competitions in Italy, China and Russia.
Her learning journey has been relentless and her training provider believes that her achievements are inspiring others to succeed.
“Collette has been an incredible role model and ambassador,” said Mark Clement, learning area manager at Gower College Swansea. “She has supported the Inspiring Skills process by performing demonstrations to lecturing staff at numerous Welsh colleges. In addition, she has been an inspiration to all upcoming competitors, encouraging them to dedicate themselves to upskilling and openly sharing her competition experience.”
Runners up in the VQ Learner of the Year – Intermediate category were Alex Davies Sketty Primary School, Swansea whose training provider is Gower College Swansea; and Nia Jones, who works for engineering company Arup in Cardiff, whose learning providers are Cardiff and Vale College and ALS Training.
There are four award categories – VQ Intermediate Learner of the Year, VQ Higher Learner of the Year, VQ Trainer of the Year and VQ Employer of the Year – which encompass the spectrum of learning, training and employment.
The award ceremony coincided with VQ Day – which celebrates vocational achievement and the benefits of technical, practical and vocational learning to both the individual and the Welsh economy.
Minister for Education Kirsty Williams said:
”Work-based skills are more important than ever, equipping learners with the skills and experience they and their employers need within the modern workforce.
“The awards set the gold standard for Vocational Qualifications in Wales and reward our outstanding learners, businesses that are committed to developing their staff and trainers who work with passion and always go the extra mile.
“Each of the finalists and winners should be extremely proud and I would like to congratulate them all on their achievements.”
The VQ Awards are jointly organised by the Welsh Government, the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), ColegauCymru/CollegesWales, Qualifications Wales and the Education Workforce Council. The Welsh Government’s funding has support from the European Social Fund.
Picture caption: VQ Intermediate Learner of the Year Award winner, Collette Gorvett