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Welsh Students Take Skills To Abu Dhabi

Alfie Hopkin, 19, from Llanelli

Two youngsters from Llanelli have won a place on the Worldskills UK Team - following a rigorous selection process.

Two students from Coleg Sir Gâr will represent the UK at WorldSkills, Abu Dhabi this October.

Elizabeth Forkuoh, 20, and Alfie Hopkin, 19, both from Llanelli, are two out of four competitors from Wales who have been selected to compete as part of Team UK at the largest skills competition in the world.

Alfie Hopkin is competing in the web design competition and Elizabeth Forkuoh will compete in the restaurant services category.

Coleg Sir Gâr has an established reputation for students competing at national and international level.

Three have returned from EuroSkills with a gold and two silver medals and many others have competed as far as Sao Paulo and Calgary.

As Skills Champion for Wales, college principal Barry Liles is at the helm of Wales' involvement in skills competitions and is passionate about promoting the nation at international level.

Coleg Sir Gâr also leads the Welsh Government funded project, Inspiring Skills Excellence in Wales, which supports Welsh competitors training to compete nationally and internationally.

Elizabeth Forkuoh is no stranger to skills competitions having this year being awarded a British Education Award, which recognises her competition success including winning a UK-wide gold award for restaurant services at the Skills Show at Birmingham NEC in 2015.

Receiving nationwide recognition for her skills, Elizabeth has been offered employment by a London-based Michelin star restaurant and has experienced a placement at The Ritz London.

As well as working at the Stradey Park Hotel in Llanelli, she is currently studying an NVQ level three diploma in hospitality supervision and leadership at Coleg Sir Gâr's Pibwrlwyd campus following successful completion of qualifications in professional cookery, professional food and beverage and barista skills. 

Alfie Hopkin, who is studying a level three extended diploma in IT in Llanelli, began his competition journey in 2015 when he won the Welsh heat of a web design competition run by Skills Competitions Wales, the launch pad into the international skills arena.

He then won a bronze award in the national final and was selected for Squad UK with four other competitors.  He has gained the only place available in the UK team to compete in web design at Abu Dhabi following a recent team selection event in Manchester.

He will begin intense training in the UK and overseas including competing in the Canadian web design final in Winnipeg in May.

Barry Liles, Coleg Sir Gâr principal and Welsh Government Skills Champion for Wales has been driving the skills agenda in Wales for a number of years.

"He said: "The competitions aim to inspire young people to be ambitious and exceptional within their area of expertise.

"Driving excellence in skills helps businesses to compete and in turn helps Wales and the UK proudly compete in a global market. I am thrilled with Wales' performance and very proud of our Coleg Sir Gâr students."

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