Professional Training

With help from IFT, Macao entrants prepare for WorldSkills Competition

IFT student Chang Wa Kin

中文摘要 / Summary in Chinese

The 2019 WorldSkills Competition is just around the corner. IFT, in collaboration with the Macao Labour Affairs Bureau, served as the training centre for the Macao contestants in 4 of the categories of skills tested in the competition: bakery, restaurant service, patisserie and confectionery, and cooking.

The 2019 WorldSkills Competition takes place from 22 to 27 August in Kazan, Russia. The international competition, held every 2 years, is the world’s biggest vocational education and skills tournament.

Team Macao comprises 17 contestants, who will show off their respective mastery of 16 different sets of skills. More than 1,400 contestants, representing 66 different parts of the world, are expected to vie at the WorldSkills Competition to show who is best in each of 56 categories of skills.

IFT Lecturer Mr. Jeffrey Lao helped Chang Wa Kin prepare to compete in the patisserie and confectionery contest. Wa Kin is an IFT student taking the programme leading to a bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts Management. He gained his place in the competition by winning the Macao heats.

Mr. Lao says Wa Kin has shown great improvement, including in his teamwork, since he began training for the WorldSkills Competition. “He used to complicate things, but he learned how to focus on simplicity.”

Wa Kin says: “Before, I liked to work alone but now I try to communicate more with the people around me.”

The Team Macao reserve in the patisserie and confectionery contest is Im Hao I. Hao I is also taking the IFT programme leading to a bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts Management. She has received the same training as Wa Kin, so she can replace him if he is unable to compete for any reason.

The coaching included intensive training outside Macao. Wa Kin and Hao I visited Paris in France between 29 June and 7 July as part of their preparation.

The WorldSkills Competition is mainly for contestants aged 22 or younger, but the age limit in some categories of skills is 25. Gold, silver or bronze medals are awarded to the contestants with the 3 highest scores in each category. Contestants scoring 700 or more points out of a maximum of 800 are awarded medallions of excellence.

IFT Lecturer Ms. Marieta Wong knows well the rules and requirements of the WorldSkills Competition: she has trained entrants for 3 different editions of the competition. This year she helped Choi Kei Nam, who is studying Culinary Arts Management at IFT, to prepare for the cooking contest.

Kei Nam also entered the first “Belt and Road International Skills Competition”, held in the Mainland Chinese city of Chongqing, in May. Ms. Wong accompanied him.

The Team Macao reserve in the WorldSkills cooking contest is Lam Mei Teng, who is also studying Culinary Arts Management at IFT.

The cooking contest entrants went to Paris between 1 and 13 July for intensive training. Ms. Wong says: “The training helped us further understand European flavours. Dishes in Macao are a mix of European and Asian styles, so it was important to understand the original flavour profiles.”

Kei Nam says he enjoyed the intensive training for the WorldSkills Competition. “We were in the kitchen from early in the morning to prepare,” he says. “When we finished preparing a dish, we went to a different room to taste it and discuss it. Then we would carry on in the same way with the subsequent dishes. The process really helped us learn the differences between the appetiser, the main course and the dessert, and how to determine what the correct portion for each dish is.”

Practice makes perfect, but it means Team Macao had to spend long hours away from home. Ms. Wong says parents should appreciate the hard work their children put into preparing for the WorldSkills Competition.

“Sometimes parents cannot understand why their children spend so much time in training, since cooking a dish doesn’t take that long a time,” she says. “I really hope that parents can see how hard their children have worked, and can support them in pursuing their dreams.”

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