Earning and learning for a brighter future: Students’ success at Worldskills Ireland 2023

Wednesday, October 04, 2023. 2:21pm

“We welcomed a record number of students through our doors this year and we hope that by showcasing the wealth of skills and apprenticeships that are available currently, that those young people will be inspired and empowered to take the first step in their careers.”

These are the words of Ray English, Chair of Worldskills Ireland 2023, who was speaking following this year’s event, which hosted 24,000 students from schools across the country, in the RDS, Simmonscourt, Dublin.

A three-day event showcasing the rich opportunities available for students looking to pursue a career in a skills-based job across almost all sectors – from Construction, Creative Arts, Hospitality and Tourism, Information & Communication Technology, Automobile and Manufacturing and Engineering.

Ray adds: “What was once seen as a route solely for budding tradespeople, the apprenticeship programme in Ireland has changed beyond recognition over the past decade, with a growing number of school-leavers opting to go down this diverse and rewarding route. And this is what Worldskills Ireland is all about, showcasing the options and advantages for students who are looking for viable career options.”

Worldskills Ireland 2023 Hospitality and Tourism competition winners, Kate Ryan, James Etherson and Alanna Moffitt, are pictured with Caroline Byrne and Sharon Balmaine, from Fáilte Ireland, category sponsor

Sponsored by SISK, Construction Industry Federation, ESB Networks, Autodesk, Bus Eireann and Dublin Bus, alongside education partners including DFHERIS, the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and NAO, visitor numbers to Worldskills Ireland have doubled since last year, which further demonstrates the appeal of apprenticeships and skills-based careers.

“Ireland is renowned around the world for having a rich skills culture and it’s our mission to ensure this continues well into the future,”  Ray continued. “A huge part of ensuring the evolution of Ireland’s industries is highlighting the opportunities that an apprenticeship or skills-based career can present – which is what makes events like Worldskills Ireland so special. Having industry representatives, government and education bodies all under one roof means that students can gain all the knowledge they need to make important decisions for their future.

 “We hope that the young people who attended Worldskills Ireland 2023 are motivated and encouraged to follow a skills-based career that has an endless amount of opportunities available. At Worldskills Ireland, we believe that our future lies in the hands of our young people, and it’s vital that we encourage them as much as possible to help them secure their future and that of Ireland’s.

 “Sincere thanks must go to all of our generous sponsors. Without their support and dedication, events like Worldskills Ireland wouldn’t be possible.”

Alanna Moffitt, winner of the Cookery competition, in action at Worldskills Ireland 2023.

A key aspect of Worldskills Ireland 2023 was the skills competitions, where 160 students and apprentices went head-to-head to compete for the prestigious DFHERIS Silver medal, alongside the chance to represent Ireland at Worldskills Lyon in 2024.

The winners of the competitions included in the Hospitality and Tourism category, which was sponsored by Fáilte Ireland, are:

  • Cookery, sponsored by BWG Foods, IFSA, Chef Network and Corcorans Food Equipment: Alanna Moffitt, from Blacklion, County Cavan
  • Craft Butchery, sponsored by MSLETB and Craft Butchers: James Etherson, from Dublin
  • Restaurant Service, sponsored by Ashford Castle: Kate Ryan, from Cashel, County Tipperary

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, pictured at Worldskills Ireland 2023

Speaking about the competitions, Ricky O’Brien, Head of Foodservice at BWG Foods, said that this year’s standards were ‘extremely high.’

“I was truly amazed by the talent on display during this year’s Hospitality and Tourism competitions,” he said. “Going up against some of Ireland’s best students and apprentices and walking away as a winner is certainly no mean feat.

 “Skills and apprenticeships are the life blood of the Hospitality and Tourism industries, and Ireland is known for being a world leader in this sector. However, if this is to continue and if our industry is to grow and develop, we need more skilled individuals with the knowledge necessary to ensure it progresses.

 “We’re delighted to see so many young people with an interest in a career in Hospitality and Tourism; it’s an exciting, fast-paced and dynamic industry with so much to offer.”  

As the country’s premier skills and apprenticeship event, Worldskills Ireland will return in 2024. If you’d like to become a sponsor or exhibit at next year’s event, email: [email protected] for more information.

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