When Alys Evans from Gilfach Goch completed her studies at Coleg y Cymoedd she couldn’t have dreamt of the future that lay ahead of her.
After completing her GCSE’s Alys enrolled on a Level 2 VRQ in Professional Cookery and a Level 3 NVQ in Patisserie, at the Nantgarw campus. Her studies at the college involved working in the training kitchens and Nant Restaurant; providing the challenges of the sector, whilst benefitting from first- hand experience of the highly skilled tutors.
Throughout her time at the college Alys competed in a number of Skills competitions, achieving numerous accolades. In her final academic year her tutors nominated her for the prestigious VQ Awards; she secured the overall award for Learner of the Year – Intermediate.
Winning the award has opened doors to a host of exciting opportunities for the talented young chef, she was invited to be part of the Culinary Association of Wales Team and recently joined the Vale Resort as a full-time pastry chef which will put her in good stead for the forthcoming competitions.
In the recent World Skills UK finals 19 year old Alys impressed the judges with her mouth -watering desserts including a honey sponge with caramelised banana, a chocolate tonca bean mousse and a deconstructed berry crumble with rosemary anglaise; to secure a place in the UK Culinary Team, along with just two other English students.
An excited Alys said “I couldn’t believe it when I was told that I had been successful. To be one of only three from across the whole of the UK to go through to the next stage, when the challenges were so hard and the standard was amazing, is incredible.
As a member of the WorldSkills UK squad, I will also be attending specialist training in sugar and chocolate work in London and Hull, later this year”.
Working at the Vale Resort, we can produce over 100 desserts a day including luxury cake-filled tiers for afternoon tea and each one has to be of the highest quality – what better training!
When I’m not working I’ll be practicing at Coleg y Cymoedd, mentoring younger chefs as they prepare for the next Skills Competition Wales.
Winning the VQ award has given me a lot of confidence and made me believe that I can do anything that I want to do. There is so much that I want to do and achieve in my career, my ambition is to work in a Michelin star restaurant”.
Alys recently attended a prize winners luncheon on HQS Wellington, Victoria Embankment, London where she collected her latest City & Guilds Award; presented by the Worshipful Company of Cooks. This Award was awarded to Alys in recognition of her achievements and awards to date.
Commenting on Alys’s success Lesley Cottrell, Enterprise, Skills and Employability Manager at Coleg y Cymoedd said” Alys is a remarkable young women, who has also juggled running her own business alongside her studies, supported by the Colleges Tafflab project. She has proved time and again that determination, perseverance and a positive mindset can take you places you never dreamed. I wish Alys all the best in the next stage of her journey, she has all the qualities that will make an incredible Worldskills contestant”.
World Skills is an international movement that promotes the benefit and need for skilled professionals, showing how important skills, education and training is for youth, industries and society. It challenges young professionals around the world to become the best in the skill of their choice.