After being made redundant, at the age of 49 I decided to retrain as a chef.
Redundancy can be a scary thing, especially after working for the same company for nearly 30 years. However I chose to see it as an opportunity and embrace the chance to do something different.
Having always had a passion for food, I chose to retrain as a chef and see where it took me. I applied for the level 2 Professional cookery course at Dundee and Angus college and was accepted onto the course. Returning to education after such a long time was a scary prospect, but I embraced it and really enjoyed the course and everything I was learning. During my time on that course I realised that my true passion lay in the Patisserie side of the industry. So on completing that course, I applied to do the level 3 Patisserie and Confectionary course, was accepted, and have now just completed that course as well.
Not long after starting the course, our lecturer informed the class about HIT Scotland and their scholarship programme and advised us we should apply as we had nothing to lose but everything to gain, so I did and was accepted to do their Pastry Scholarship. The scholarship was held at Braehead Cookery School and was run by Helen Vass one of the winning team members on The Great British Bake Off, Creme De la Creme. I can hand on heart say that this has been one of the highlights of this journey that I am on and am truly grateful for the opportunity. I learned a great deal on the scholarship, had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Helen was an inspiration and made the whole thing extremely educational, I would recommend applying to HIT Scotland to anyone serious about taking their learning further.
Since leaving college, I have gained a job as a pastry chef in Jannettas Gelateria in St. Andrews. They are an award winning, family run ice cream business with a small cafe serving a variety of hot and cold dishes and a variety of cakes and pastries, all made to order and on the premises.
Two years ago I was unemployed and a little unsure what the future held. Now, I have retrained, doing a job I love and am excited about the future.
If you would like to apply for a scholarship, the 2017 programme launches on Thursday 29th September. To find out more click here