Caerphilly-born Alisha Thomas has triumphed after winning gold at WorldSkills UK. The bright 18-year-old competed in the Health and Social Care Foundation Skills category and delivered a healthy-eating talk, aimed at raising awareness to patients who are recovering from a stroke.
WorldSkills competitions raise the profile and recognition of skilled people and show how important skills are in achieving personal and professional success.
Foundation Skills Competitions are designed for students who have a statement of Special Educational Needs (SEN) and/or disabilities. The 10 specially designed competitions allow students to showcase skills, knowledge and behaviours that highlight their independence and employability skills.
Competitions start at a regional level, with Welsh competitors competing at Skills Competition Wales and successful contenders moving on to the national WorldSkills UK competitions.
During the competition, Alisha explained how a better diet could prevent a stroke from happening again and discussed the importance of staying fit and healthy throughout the pandemic. She is the first learner to win a medal under the guidance of leading Welsh training provider, ACT, at WorldSkills UK and one of 69 to win a medal for Wales.
Alisha said: “Since I was a child, I’ve always wanted to work in the care industry. I grew up in a large family with two brothers and two sisters, so I’m used to helping others. It’s always been a dream of mine to care for people who need support.
“I am very happy and proud of myself for winning gold at WorldSkills UK and I would like to give a massive thank you to my family and the members of staff at ACT for encouraging and helping me with the competition.
“It was an amazing experience being able to represent Wales on a national scale and being chosen as the best childcare competitor in the UK was something I’ll never forget.”
Earlier in the year, Alisha was presented with another gold medal, in the Inclusive Skills: Childcare category, from Skills Competition Wales, for her impressive educational storyboards based on the popular children’s book, The Gruffalo.
Skills Competition Wales’ Inclusive categories are specifically designed to encourage and help learners with learning difficulties and disabilities reach their full potential in their chosen skill.
Alisha brought Julia Donaldson’s much-loved modern fairytale to life by crafting pieces of card and painting wooden spoons. The storyboard explained the story of the Mouse, Snake, Fox and Owl characters, and the important lessons they learned, by encountering the titular Gruffalo.
She continued: “I love stories and films because they always have a meaning behind them. They teach you things in a fun and loving way, which is exactly what I wanted to do with my storyboards.”
Currently studying a Level 1 Childcare Apprenticeship, Alisha said her time with ACT and her experience with skills competitions has helped her become more employable.
Alisha added: “I have developed many skills during my time with ACT, Skills Competition Wales and WorldSkills that will benefit me in the future. I have learned how to work independently and in a team. They have helped me with my communication skills and have built up my confidence massively.
“One of the skills I’ve learned is problem-solving and with the career I want to do, there will be many times you will have to think on the spot and come up with a solution.”
During her Apprenticeship, Alisha has learned how to bathe a baby correctly, change nappies and prepare bottles – all important skills for working in childcare. She’s now putting her experience into practice at First Steps Daycare in Aberbargoed where she’s enjoying a placement.
Alisha said: “The best advice I can give to anyone else considering entering Skills Competition Wales or WorldSkills UK is to try your best and never give up! I would also say to not think that you cannot do it and have a little bit of faith in yourself. It’s a good experience.”
To find out more about how to start your WorldSkills journey in Wales, please visit: inspiringskills.gov.wales
For more on the Apprenticeship opportunities at ACT, please visit: https://bit.ly/3GtoCKx
The Inspiring Skills Excellence in Wales project, funded by Welsh Government, offers a supportive infrastructure for Welsh competitors competing at WorldSkills competitions nationally and internationally by focusing on the development of technical skills to a world-class standard.