Walking into the Ibirapuera Gymnasium for the Opening Ceremony of WorldSkills São Paulo 2015, I suddenly realised the scale and importance of the event. In front of 8,000 guests and representatives from the 52 competing countries and regions, we were told we were shaping the future of vocational training across the world. It really does feel like we are part of a movement.
My competition, patisserie and confectionery, has 21 participants from countries such as Brazil, India and the United Arab Emirates. Speaking with the competitors before it started, we all agreed the WorldSkills competition really was showcasing the value of skills and we collectively felt that the event was raising the recognition of young skilled professionals across the world.
I started competing after my lecturer at City of Glasgow College encouraged me to take part in WorldSkills UK. Participating in contests has enabled me to build on my learning at college. Supported by my training manager, Yolande Stanley, I have been privileged to train with some of the most recognised people in my industry. I travelled to Malaysia to work with Ewald Notter to improve my sugar techniques and trained with Christophe Morel in chocolate skills. Everything I learned, I was able to take back and share with my peers. This shows how knowledge gained from WorldSkills UK skills competition activity can be communicated through the training programmes in the UK.
I've been drawing on the training I completed as part of my Team UK preparation since the 43rd WorldSkills competition opened on Wednesday 12 August. I'm been really pleased with how the first two days have gone. I know the next two will be tough but I am determined to deliver a performance I will be proud of.