Inspiring Business by Sharing Success

Job seekers turn the heat up on their work skills

A group of eight service users from Mansfield’s Jobcentre Plus have learnt new skills in catering and hospitality at West Nottinghamshire College, helping them to look towards future new career opportunities.

Over a five-week period, for two days per week, six budding chefs have undertook the NVQ Level 1 Certificate in Food Production and Cookery and two front of house hopefuls have completed the NVQ Level 1 Certificate in Food and Drink Service.

Throughout the duration of the courses, the current students have worked through fundamental catering and hospitality units such as health and safety, food safety, dough cookery, working with meat, fish, poultry and vegetables, and general kitchen skills, as well as customer service, bar work and learning how to handle cash.

This is the first time Jobcentre Plus have worked with the college on enrolling individuals on a short programme and from this initial success it is hoped to repeat the programme again.

Chef tutor Neil Wilson said:

“To say most of the students have not had any experience in the industry before, they have performed very well. Their enthusiasm was five star and they’ve all gained a lot of confidence over these last few weeks and fit in brilliantly with current students.”

The programme ended with a finalé hot food buffet cooked and served by the food production and cookery students in the college’s Relish diner on Friday 24 May, with celebratory mocktails mixed and served by the food and drink service learners.

Melanie Milligan, 59, was one of the students on the food production programme. She said:

“I’d been attending the Job Centre with my husband over the last three months as he’d been made redundant. They asked me if I’d be interested in the short course at West Notts College, as I’d worked in restaurants in Canada over the past 25 years. I’d done everything buy actually cook in restaurants.

“I’ve absolutely loved it! It’s taught me so much and I’ve been using the skills at home. Hopefully this will help me in a new job search. If I don’t get a job but my husband does, I’ll use the opportunity to do more studying in this area.”


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