Profiles4Care caught up with Hayley Edwards, who competed in the Health and Social Care category at this year’s WorldSkills global event held in Brazil, to hear what she had to say about her journey through the WorldSkills UK competition last year and her trip to Sãu Paulo. Hayley was presented with The first Woodbine Parish Award for the highest scoring non medallist. Congratulations Hayley.
“WorldSkills broadened my horizons and then took me beyond them. Starting this journey at such a young age was initially quite overwhelming however the ongoing support of both the WorldSkills team and follow competitors allowed me to feel at ease. I had my first taste of WorldSkills in the 2013 heats at Shipley College and loved the experience and to top it off came first! Since that day I’ve been on this incredible journey meeting other competitors and health care professionals, sharing our experiences and knowledge.
“Following the regional events I competed in the nationals at Birmingham NEC, which was amazing! I remember the feeling on that first day walking in and seeing how big it was and how many skills there were and feeling this great sense of pride. Coming third in nationals was a huge achievement for me but to then go on and be selected as one of the eight members in the squad pool for the international team was unbelievable.
“It was only then that I realised how badly I wanted to be that person representing the UK for health and social care in Brazil. The first stage we had to get through was squad selection which was held in Northern Ireland for health and social care competitors this consisted of 12 modules over a period of four days, it was intense and truly exhausting but leaving a module and knowing you’ve done the best you could possibly do was a great feeling. Finding out the results was extremely nerve racking but I remember being ecstatic when they called my name, out of eight I was in the final three!
“A personal challenge for myself was training alongside university, although the true challenge came in the week of team selection as I had two exams back in Leeds and I was also competing in Burton on Trent. However, despite all of the struggles, my hard work paid off and I was chosen to go to São Paulo, Brazil.
“My training manager was a huge part of this for me as she helped me to develop as not only a nurse but as a person. Her expertise and connections enabled me to train with some fantastic health care professionals in all different sectors and country’s training in both Northern Ireland and Switzerland.
The only words to describe Brazil are life changing because it truly was, everything from meeting other countries to visiting the Brazilian schools was truly unforgettable. The only way to describe the enormity of it is to share with you the size of the venue spreading just over 2 km long, it was huge.
WorldSkills has been the best experience of my life and one that I will be forever grateful for.”