Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? What are you doing at the moment?
I’m currently the owner of The Tankerville Arms in Eglingham just outside Alnwick, something I’m very proud of as I’ve worked very hard over the years to get to this point. I’m a pretty determined person and when I set my mind to doing something I have to follow it through. I’ve always wanted my own pub so around nine months ago I started looking and found The Tankerville Arms and here I am!
Why did you choose to study at Newcastle College?
I’d heard good reviews about the College and location wise it was perfect as it meant I could drive to College in under an hour. I came to an Open Day and had a look at the facilities and was blown away at the real working environments. I’m a more practical person so this type of learning environment was perfect for me; I wanted to learn in a more hands on way rather than being in a classroom.
Why did you choose the course?
I’d worked in catering for many years front of house which I really enjoyed but I wanted to expand my existing knowledge and learn more about the operations and back office side of the hospitality industry.
What did you enjoy most about your course?
I loved studying alongside really motivated people. Everyone who was on the course wanted the same thing, to do well and it was really inspiring and a great environment to be in. I also really enjoyed the cheffing side of the course which gave me an insight into the pressures of the kitchen which made me more understanding.
Did you have the opportunity to go on a work placement as part of your degree? What skills do you feel you gained?
I was working at a hotel and restaurant when I started my course so I undertook a sixth month placement there and it was fantastic. I had the opportunity to move around the business helping out in the kitchen, doing housekeeping etc. which was really useful as it gave me an insight into all of the elements within a hotel/restaurant.
How would you describe the staff at the College?
Absolutely amazing, I can’t speak highly enough of them. They were always there for me whenever I needed them. I felt like I could just knock on their door and they would make time for me. I got on really well with my tutors and I still call a few of them up for advice.
How do you think your degree set up for employment?
Although I had prior experience of working in the hospitality industry the course really helped me to develop my managerial and back office skills. I learnt practical skills such as how to do rotas, costing's of menus etc. that I could apply in the workplace. I felt I really developed both personally and professionally as a result of studying the course and my confidence in my ability increased massively after I’d graduated.
What was your highlight of studying at Newcastle College?
For one of our modules we had to put on an event in The Chef’s Academy with a service of 30-40 people. I worked as part of a team of three and my role was in the kitchen. I had to devise the menu, work out costing's, source local suppliers etc. We did a fact sheet of all the suppliers with biographies as takeaways for the dinner guests which received really positive feedback. It was a long day but really rewarding to see it all come together.
Any words of advice for any student considering studying at Newcastle College?
Do it! You’ll have an amazing experience, it really is a great place to study and you won’t regret it.
Sum up your time at the College in three words
Challenging, rewarding, inspiring