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Pupils get a taste of careers in food and drink at Welsh International Culinary Championships

Pupils from South Wales schools were given the opportunity to experience the atmosphere of the Welsh International Culinary Championships at ICC Wales.

Pupils from three schools in South Wales learnt about career opportunities in the Welsh food and drink industry on the 23-24 January 2024 as part of a Schools Roadshow event organised by Food & Drink Skills Wales/ Sgiliau Bwyd a Diod Cymru to bring pupils to the Welsh International Culinary Championships (WICC) at the International Convention Centre Wales (ICC), Newport.

A total of 95 pupils from Newport High School, Ysgol Gymraeg Plasmawr in Cardiff, and Fitzalan High School in Cardiff attended the event. During the day they developed their presentation, body language and communication skills with Rob Hookham from Cambrian Training Company and were introduced to the world of food technologists by Leanne Ellis from Zero2Five Food Industry Centre. They also had an opportunity to develop skills such as napkin folding, making omelettes, and mixing mocktails.

The event was arranged to coincide with the WICC, which featured National and Junior Chef of Wales and Welsh Butcher of the Year competitions as well as WICC skills classes, all run by the Culinary Association of Wales.

For the first time the WICC also hosted the Skills Competition Wales hospitality competitions, open to apprentices training and working in the industry. This allowed pupils to watch the competing chefs and trainee chefs in action and engage with exhibitors in the main hall, where the competitions took place.

Arwyn Watkins OBE, President of the Culinary Association of Wales, said:

“We moved the Welsh International Culinary Championships to ICC Wales to create a three-day hospitality showcase. For the first time the WICC brought together Welsh chefs, butchers, hospitality apprentices and the Welsh food and drink sector to network and build business relationships.

“We were very pleased to partner with Food & Drink Skills Wales/ Sgiliau Bwyd a Diod Cymru to host food technology pupils at the WICC. The pupils were able to try their hand at some of our skills classes and learn first-hand about the hospitality sector and future career opportunities in our industry.”

Elen Rebeca Jones, Engagement Manager for Food & Drink Skills Wales/ Sgiliau Bwyd a Diod Cymru, said:

“It was a real pleasure to offer this event and to see the pupils having such a good time. Wales has an incredibly vibrant food and drink industry that offers a very wide range of exciting job opportunities.

“The pupils were all inspired and had a chance to network and get to know what opportunities and different training resources existed in the food and drink industry. While not every student who attended will be entering the food and drink industry, we hope that some of them will take the opportunity to follow that path – and every single one of them learnt something new during the day. It gave me great joy as an engagement manager to help fulfil that for them.”