From Leonardo Mobility to Young Chef of the YearPosted: May 2, 2012
Cumbernauld College are experienced Leonardo Mobility promoters and have successfully run a series of different projects since 2008. Recently they submitted a case study to our Projects around the UK map which highlighted their WORKS (Work-Placement Opportunities for Receiving Knowledge and Skills) project which has run since 2009, the project has provided hundreds of students with the opportunity to experience working in another European country. An opportunity, that without the hard work of the College and Leonardo funding, would not be available to them.
One of the students who took part in the Mobility was Deborah Kirk, a hospitality student at the College, who had the chance to spend three weeks in Lyon working at the five star Sofitel Hotel in their renowned Michelin-Starred restaurant Les Trois Dômes. Deborah said of the opportunity and her experience:
The Leonardo Mobility WORKS project has definitely helped further my career. Firstly it pushed me to strive for the required grades to be entitled to the opportunity which made me feel like I had earned my place on this amazing programme.
Secondly Lyon was such a great experience, not just the culture and how France is different in regards to dishes and ingredients but also to how the kitchens are different. It gave me real insight into living and working in France and how it differs to the UK.
On her return to the UK, Deborah continued with her studies and completed her first year and continued to complete her City & Guilds diploma in Professional Cookery. The College has found the Leonardo Mobility placements to be a useful method for student retention and achievement, Paul Clark who is the head Chef at Cumbernauld College and helps to co-ordinate the placements said:
The placements are a real eye opener for the students and having the work placement on their C.V makes them stand out from the crowd. From the College’s point of view it is a massive ‘carrot’ to put in front of learners to promote attendance and achievement when they believe they have a real goal worth working towards.
Thanks to her Leonardo experience, Deborah has continued to go from strength to strength with her work experience helping to give her the confidence to not only start employment at the five star Turnberry Hotel in Ayrshire as a commis chef, but also to enter the Skills for Chef 2011 competition. Up against tough competition from other young chefs from across the UK, Deborah was able to wow the judges, which included Michelin Star chef Nigel Hayworth, with her creations and highlight her outstanding skills and be named Young Chef of the Year 2011.
If it hadn’t been for my experience in Lyon then I wouldn’t have had the confidence to apply for the Young Chef of the Year competition, nevermind winning it.
I think the programme is such an amazing opportunity to young chefs still in college and shows you with a little bit of hard work what you can achieve. I feel very priviliged that my college was one of the colleges which received Leonardo funding and can only thank the team for giving me this opportunity, giving my confidence a massive boost and pushing me forward in this rewarding career.
I’d highly recommend this to anyone who wants to see a wider view of the catering industry and the many paths you can go down. My trip to France was, and still to this day is, one of my greatest memories.
Share your experience
We always enjoy reading about where our funding goes and the opportunities that it creates for all involved. We’d love to share your experiences with all the projects involved in the Lifelong Learning Programme so please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to write a guest blog post about your project or submit a case study to our Projects around the UK map.