Tonquanja Giddings earns Best of Nation!

12/23/2022 08:08 PM
WorldSkills Barbados News
WorldSkills Barbados Team Leader Sarah Gilkes-Daniel (right) presents Tonquanja Giddings with the Best of Nation Medal

We caught up with Barbados’ competitor, Tonquanja Giddings, to learn all about her Worldskills Competition 2022 Special Edition (WSC2022SE) experience.

She earned the Best of Nation award at the competition which was held in Lucerne, Switzerland in October. She placed 14th out of 21 competitors in the Restaurant Service category with a score of 694 points. The Best of Nation title is awarded to competitors who gain the highest points and/or highest medal at the biennial WorldSkills Competition. The selections are made by each Member Country's Technical Delegate. 

Ms. Giddings, a graduate of the Barbados Community College Hospitality Institute (BCCHI), trained for over a year with the WorldSkills Barbados Expert in Restaurant Service, Roderick Prescod, in areas such as banquet, barista, bar as well as casual and fine dining with a focus on specific skills such as basic table setup, bar and wine knowledge and preparation of specialist coffees.

Both credit strategic industry partnerships with Country House and Vignoles Consultancy for invaluable hands-on experience. A friendly competition in Colombia earlier this year saw Ms. Giddings thrust into a foreign environment and tackling new tasks. This experience under competition conditions was pivotal in boosting Ms. Giddings confidence and testing her adaptability.

Ms. Giddings also expressed her gratitude to her trainer, Mr. Prescod, Worldskills Barbados and to the TVET Council for “knowledge, materials, equipment and support when preparing for and competing in the international competition”.

Six points shy of the Medallion for Excellence they were hoping to achieve. Ms. Giddings’ total score of 694 was the most points of a Barbadian competitor ever!

Although the competition wasn’t exactly as Ms. Giddings imagined she assured: “My overall competition experience was fun and exciting. I enjoyed putting myself out of my comfort zone and exploring new techniques. I was able to meet new people and learn about different cultures.”

A key takeaway for Ms. Giddings was the different standards of restaurant training employed around the world. while Mr. Prescod found it invaluable “to observe the standard of excellence which brings competitors within touch of medals and medallions”. This experience will bring new approaches and training methods going forward.

With eyes on coming competitions, Mr. Prescod stressed: “The ability to identify where Barbados needs to strengthen was extremely beneficial and having the ability to network with fellow Experts will aid in future identification of talent and preparation for competitions.”

Armed with this knowledge we are more prepared than ever to take on the 47th WorldSkills competition, WorldSkills Lyon 2024!