Gold Medal Served up at WorldSkills Competition

Private Kimberley de Schot won a gold medal in restaurant service at the 2016 WorldSkills New Zealand competition.
Private Kimberley de Schot won a gold medal in restaurant service at the 2016 WorldSkills New Zealand competition.

7 October 2016

Christchurch woman Kimberley de Schot is justifiably proud to have won gold in restaurant service at the “Olympics of trade skills”, the 2016 WorldSkills New Zealand competition.

“Winning the gold medal made me more nervous than the competition itself,” said Private (PTE) De Schot, 20, who was representing the New Zealand Defence Force at the competition in Wintec, Hamilton, from 30 September to 1 October.

“Walking up on stage, in front of everyone – with cameras flashing – I didn’t know what to do. The feeling took a while to sink in.

“But knowing that I was one of the top restaurant service workers in New Zealand was a very proud moment.”

PTE De Schot, a former Villa Maria College student, is now a steward/caterer in the New Zealand Army.

WorldSkills New Zealand is the country’s premier work-skill competition. Most winners go on to represent New Zealand WorldSkills International, which is held biennially.

The competition featured 67 regional finalists showcasing their work skills across 14 industry categories. Each competitor completed a project over two days, replicating “real-world” problems and tasks.

PTE De Schot will now go to the selection phase to represent New Zealand next year at WorldSkills Oceania in Melbourne, followed by WorldSkills International in Abu Dhabi.

She said the national competition followed two-and-a-half weeks of training at the Defence Catering School in Devonport, Auckland, which gave her confidence going into the intense, two-day competition.

“The competition was really enjoyable – it was an experience within itself,” she said. “Representing the NZDF made me feel really proud, and I knew I had to put 100 per cent into each task that I did.”

PTE De Schot is posted to No. 3 Combat Service Support Battalion, at Burnham Military Camp, near Christchurch. She joined the Army in March 2014, attracted to the prospect of a “hands-on” career.

“I was always a practical worker and thought it was an awesome idea to get qualifications while serving my country.”

Her daily tasks can be anything from making salads to setting up the dining room, serving a meal, taking orders, making coffee, taking food out, or making omelettes in front of diners.

“I love being out front and engaging with other people,” she said. “And the best thing about being a steward in the Army is that we could be doing our day-to-day job or we could be doing something completely different, like playing sport or training for a competition.

“The thing I enjoy most about the Army is being part of a big family with a sense of pride, and being surrounded by lots of different people who are passionate about different things.”

This page was last reviewed on 11 October 2016.