Michael Godfrey, Sodexo's executive head chef at Bekynton, Eton College, is the Worldskills UK team training manager for cookery. He spoke to Janie Stamford about the event
Caterer What is Worldskills UK all about?
Michael Godfrey It's a series of regional and national skill competitions that aim to encourage people across the UK to excel in their vocation. Three hospitality sectors are represented - restaurant services, pastry/confectionery and cooking. I'm training manager for cooking.
Caterer What happens to the winners?
MG Outstanding UK finalists could find themselves shortlisted for the team that competes in the international event.
Caterer When does the event take place?
MG The Worldskills UK final is in Bournemouth on 16-17 March. The next international event is Worldskills London 2011, which will be held at London ExCeL on 5-8 October 2011. There will be more than 1,000 competitors from around 50 member countries.
Caterer How does it help the hospitality industry?
MG It recognises talent while highlighting and promoting an international skill standard. A young chef can take his or her trade to the other side of the world. A wonderful by-product is that it promotes the industry as a whole. It's also good for the individual competitors as they are given the chance to push their talents to the limit and become advocates of their crafts. Past winners have gone on to win promotions in their company or set up their own businesses. The benefits of entering are endless.
Caterer What does your role as training manager involve?
MG I assess the needs of the competitor and implement a programme designed to meet those needs. We sent Adam Smith, 2009 cookery gold medal winner at the international Worldskills event in Calgary, to Dubai to give him the chance to get competition experience and exposure. I'm lucky because Sodexo is very supportive and gives me the time to undertake the role. Usually the position lasts three cycles (six years). From my point of view, it would be great to promote the competition as a whole so that along the way it promotes our trade. Obviously I'm biased, but I would like to help young people see that hospitality is a career for life; not something you just dip in and out of.
Caterer Who can get involved?
MG Worldskills UK is open to anyone who has gained or is working towards vocational skills, as long as they under the age of 23 at the international event in 2011. We're looking for the best young chefs, pastry chefs and restaurant service personnel to take part and prove they are the UK's best. It's really good for the individuals who take part; they learn a lot about themselves, their stress points and abilities, and they learn how to represent their country.
Enter online by Tuesday 9 March 2010 atwww.worldskillsuk.org