“I want to be a chef and I’m learning the skills I need for the future,” says 17-year-old Mercedes Banks who is studying for the Level 2 diploma in professional cookery.
Mercedes added: “I’ve always been interested in cooking and wanted to improve so the course has enabled me to start at the beginning and work my way up.
“I’ve learnt so much that I didn’t know before such as different types of knives, what they’re used for and how to hold them correctly, as well as how to make different sauces and about good hygiene and health and safety in the kitchen.
“During the week we work in the kitchen and are assessed by the tutor, and every Friday we are in the classroom and have an exam to test us on what we’ve learnt that week, and also prepare for what we’re going to be doing the following week.
“It’s a far more relaxed way of learning than being at school and it’s good to be studying a subject I’m interested in – the food we prepare is sold in the college canteen and it feels good to know that what I’ve made will be eaten by others and I feel proud when I see it being served to customers.”