NZMA hospitality graduate Liu Yang (Lucy) has gained international acclaim after landing a top spot in the 2015 National BTEC Awards.
Lucy earned a Commended Runner-up in the Outstanding BTEC International Student of the Year competition, announced last night during a glittering awards ceremony in London. The first NZMA student to ever receive the prestigious accolade - and the only international student studying in New Zealand to be chosen for 2015 - Lucy was up against the crème de la crème of BTEC students from more than 70 different countries. The awards aim to recognise and celebrate vocational excellence around the globe, and this year received more than 800 nominations.
Lucy gave up a career as a kindergarten teacher in China to pursue hospitality studies in New Zealand.
“I developed a lot of patience during my time as a kindergarten teacher, and I think that quality is just as valuable when working in the hospitality industry. I decided to study hospitality management because I care about and enjoy helping people – it brings me a great amount of happiness,” she said.
Lucy completed her BTEC Diploma in Applied Hospitality Management Level 6 at NZMA and graduated last year. She was delighted to be named for the award.
“It is a big thrill, and I’d like to thank NZMA, and especially my tutor, who supported me so much and helped me achieve what I have achieved today.”
Sylvia Park Deputy Campus Principal Martin Szeko described her as a “hospitality superstar”.
“Lucy demonstrated her passion for the hospitality industry from her first day at NZMA. She excelled in every subject and gained distinction in each of the 16 units. Her outstanding academic results, together with her advanced technical skills, made her a truly unique student,” said Martin.
She represented NZMA in a number of regional and national culinary competitions. Her wins included a gold medal for her mocktails in the Regional Culinary Fare, and a gold medal in cocktails and a silver in barista at the New Zealand Culinary Fare.
“This success is a true reflection of her hard work, determination and persistence. She worked part-time in the industry throughout her studies, and completed her six month internship at the Rendezvous Hotel, at the end of which she was offered permanent employment. She left there later to pursue her passion for becoming a barista, gaining good roles at A+ Café and Un Café, where she helped implement changes to operations using the commercial business knowledge she gained during her BTEC studies.”
Eventually Lucy hopes to use her undeniable talent to open her own café, together with her husband who is currently studying for his Diploma in Professional Cookery at NZMA.