Aspiring chef Guy may have found the recipe for success

A MOIRA lad may have the recipe for success by taking the first steps to becoming the next Jamie Oliver.

Guy Woods (20), who had been unemployed for several months, successfully completed a Princes Trust Get into Cooking programme and landed himself a full-time job at a top local eatery, the Tannery, as a result.

Guy said: “I had been unemployed for a year and always wanted to get into cooking.

“The ‘Get into Cooking’ programme has helped me to rebuild my confidence and develop my cooking skills. The tutors and everybody involved were extremely helpful and I enjoyed all the qualifications.

“My work placement was brilliant and I have even managed to secure a full-time job. I have really enjoyed the Get into Cooking programme and would definitely recommend it to other young people wanting to work in this sector.”

Guy was among 16 other young people from across Northern Ireland who secured a job as a result of completing Get into Cooking.

The programme, delivered with Belfast Metropolitan College, has been tailored to give 16 to 25 year olds the confidence, skills and training to embark on a career within the catering industry and was funded by The Savoy Trust.

Participants work towards three units of City and Guilds Level 2 Hospitality and Catering alongside a CIEH Food Safety Level 2 and First Aid certificate. They then put their new skills into practice through an eight day work placement with leading restaurants across the province.

On completion of the programme, each young person is offered up to six months mentoring support to maintain momentum from the programme and progress into employment or further training.

The programme culminated in a graduation lunch prepared by the group for their family and friends.

The Prince’s Trust runs a series of ‘Get into’ programmes over a variety of sectors such as retail, health and social work, youth work, and catering and hospitality. The Prince’s Trust is a youth charity that helps change young lives. It offers practical and financial support, developing key workplace skills such as confidence and motivation. 

Ian Jeffers, Director with The Prince’s Trust in Northern Ireland said: “The number of chefs and cooks working in the hospitality, travel and tourism sector has increased by 105% over the past five years in Northern Ireland,” he explained , “ however, research shows that the restaurant and hotel sector in Northern Ireland struggles with one of the highest skills gaps with employers reporting that 33% of all chef and cook vacancies are “difficult to fill”.” (People 1st, Sector Skills Assessment for the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism sector, Northern Ireland 2010)

“Get into Cooking has been running for seven years delivering extremely positive outcomes with 70% of participants going onto to secure a job or continue with further education or training.

“The Prince’s Trust is committed to continually working hard with companies operating in the growth sectors of the local economy to provide jobs and training for disadvantaged young people and it is truly inspiring to see the enthusiasm and drive among this group of participants.”