The 45th edition of the Worldskills Competition took place in Kazan and brought together more than 1,400 young professionals who represented 63 countries and competed in 56 different skills. Elizabeth Newcombe was one of them and did a remarkable job: she took 5th place in the Floristry skill and won a Medallion for Excellence! We spoke to Elizabeth about this amazing achievement, the lessons she has learnt and the flower sponsorship by Florismart.
What was your first response to winning a medal of excellence for your work at WorldSkills?
My first response was a bit of an emotional one really! I remember I was absolutely over the moon and a little bit teary to have received a medallion of excellence and to be placed in the top 5 in the world for my work in the WorldSkills Competition. I was lucky enough to have been in training with the incredible WorldSkills floristry team of Laura Leong, Lynda Owen and Jane Benefield for the past 2 years and I couldn’t have done this without all of their support.
What was the best part of your participation in WorldSkills (UK)?
Although I have had so many amazing opportunities at WorldSkills UK, The best part for me was walking out onto the stage in front of 47,000 people during the opening ceremony in Kazan with the rest of our Team to represent the United Kingdom whilst my friends and family were watching on TV at home. It was a breathtaking experience and it’s so amazing where WorldSkills UK can take you.
Can you tell us a bit more about what you personally take out of this whole experience?
I found that WorldSkills taught me so much more than floristry. I’ve learnt so much about myself in terms of confidence and how to portray yourself in a stressful environment and also in front of the camera for media interviews, too. We get taught a lot of sports psychology which I found really interesting, such as the positive and negative impacts of stress and also how to get yourself into that competitor mindset. A lot of the things I’ve learnt during WorldSkills I’ve been able to apply to real-life situations since setting up my own business.
What would be your advice to anyone who’s considering entering floral competitions?
My advice for anybody who’s considering entering floral competitions would be to just go for it and enjoy it! We are florists because we have a passion for flowers so let your creativity shine through. My college tutor, Laura Hawken, at Merrist Wood College in Guildford encouraged me to enter the heats again for WorldSkills back in 2017. I was unsure about entering again as I didn’t do so well in WorldSkills heats previously, however she told me to never give up and to believe in myself, so thank you Laura.
Are you planning on entering more floral competitions now that WorldSkills is completed?
I’m always keeping an eye out for floristry competitions, however, I’m taking a bit of a break for the next few months whilst I’m focusing on starting up my own business, The Botanical Company, in Surrey. I’m sure I’ll be back on the competition scene in 2020!
How has the Florismart sponsorship helped you in your preparations for the competition?
Florismart’s sponsorship has allowed me to train intensively at home for the past two years throughout my journey at WorldSkills UK. The quality of flowers and foliages I’ve received on a bi-weekly basis has been absolutely fantastic, and without Florismart I wouldn’t have been able to achieve the international world-class level of floristry which allowed me to be awarded the Medallion for Excellence. Thank you so much Florismart for everything that you do for WorldSkills, you guys are amazing.