Whirlwind year of success for VQ Award winner Alys

Duncan Foulkes Foulkes

Duncan Foulkes Foulkes

Other 30th January 2018

Whirlwind year of success for VQ Award winner Alys

Immediate: January 30, 2018

Winning a Vocational Qualification (VQ) Award last year was the start of a momentous 12 months for talented young Welsh chef Alys Evans.

Alys, 19, from Gilfach Goch, has found that winning the VQ Learner of the Year (Intermediate) Award has opened doors to a host of exciting opportunities.

She has qualified for the WorldSkills UK squad for Russia 2019 after competing at WorldSkills UK in Birmingham and been selected by the Culinary Association of Wales to compete with the Wales team at La Parade des Chefs at the International Salon Culinaire in London, which runs from March 5-8. The competition is an important warm up event for the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg in November.

In addition, Alys has started a new job as pastry chef at the Vale Resort, Hensol, near Cardiff and completed her patisserie and confectionery studies at Coleg y Cymoedd.

As this year’s VQ Awards are launched, she reflected on the past year, which has been somewhat of a whirlwind. Just a few days into 2018, her diary is full of exciting competitions, specialist training sessions and work commitments.

“Winning the VQ award last year was an amazing experience and it was really nice to be recognised for all the hard work that I had put in,” she said. “Putting the award on my CV has been a massive help when searching for jobs in the hospitality industry.

“As a result of the award, the Culinary Association of Wales heard about me and invited me to be part of their team, which has been amazing.”

As a member of the WorldSkills UK squad, she is receiving specialist training and hopes to be successful in a series of assessments to qualify for the team to compete in Russia in 2019. Training sessions in sugar and chocolate work are planned in London and Hull.

“My diary for 2018 is jam-packed already and I am very grateful to the Vale Resort for being so supportive,” added Alys, whose ambition is to one day work in a Michelin star restaurant. “There is so much that I want to do and achieve in my career.

“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.”

Nominations for this year’s four VQ Awards categories close on March 2. The awards aim to recognise individuals and organisations who have used technical, practical and vocational qualifications to achieve success.

Categories include Employer of the Year, Learner of the Year (Intermediate), Learner of the Year (Higher) and Trainer of the Year. The awards ceremony will be held at The Exchange Hotel, Cardiff on May 3 to coincide with VQ Day in Wales.

Now in their 11th consecutive year, the awards are designed to celebrate vocational qualifications for learners, teachers, training providers and employers. For more information about the awards and to download a nomination form please visit www.vqday.wales

Learning providers across Wales are being encouraged to organise regional events and engage with learners of all ages on VQ Day.

The awards are organised by the Welsh Government in partnership with the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), CollegesWales/ ColegauCymru and Qualifications Wales. The campaign supports the marketing of the Apprenticeship Programme in Wales which is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.

Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, Eluned Morgan said: “I know it is the new year and we are all trying to cut back after our Christmas food binge, but I would love nothing other than to taste one of Alys’ pastries! She is one of the amazing winners who could be representing Wales in Russia to demonstrate the high level of skills that we can produce in Wales.

“A VQ Award which was the start of Alys’ journey could also be the start for others in Wales, so I would encourage people to get their nominations in and show that when it comes to vocational skills – Wales is top.”


For more information please contact Claire Roberts, CollegesWales, on Tel: 029 2052 2500 or 07534 859426, or Duncan Foulkes, public relations consultant, on 01686 650818 or 07779 785451.