Join the Stoke on Trent College Alumni Network
Your journey doesn’t stop when you leave the College. We want to hear about how you’re getting on since you finished your course at Stoke. Perhaps you’ve found employment at a local business, gone on to study at university or are travelling the world during a gap year? Whatever you’re doing, we’d love to stay in touch!
All you need to do is sign up by filling in this form. After that it requires no action from you – it simply means you will receive updates every now and then that keep you in the loop with what is going on.
Joining our Alumni Network means you can:
- Stay connected with staff and former students
- Get invites to events and networking opportunities
- Receive Stoke on Trent College updates
- Find out about new opportunities
- Receive updates for vacancies such as Traineeships and Apprenticeships
Join our alumni community and sign up today!
Meet Our Alumni
James Greaves – Chef Lecturer
James Greaves began his Stoke on Trent College journey in 2013 studying Level 2 and Level 3 Catering where he combined his studies with an apprenticeship at Alton Towers and remained there for 5 years! Upon the successful completion of his studies, James went on to become a Chef at the Secret Garden Restaurant within the Alton Towers Complex.
As a local boy, James has always had a vested interest in being a part of the growth of the Hospitality industry within Stoke on Trent. After leaving Alton Towers, he began his role as Sous Chef, later to become Head Chef, at Portofino’s – a very popular restaurant in the heart of Hanley!
After spending nearly 3 years at Portofino’s, James embarked on a new role as Development Chef at Totally Delicious where he tailored hundreds of menus to suit the needs of various different clients! His most recent role prior to joining Stoke on Trent College was as Head Chef at Modershall Oaks where James specialised in bespoke fine dining.
Overall, James brings over 10 years experience within the hospitality sector and we’re delighted to have him now join us as a Chef Lecturer. James has a passion for teaching and is keen to pass on his industry knowledge to willing learners!
Jake Lowndes – Co-owner and Head Chef at Little Seeds Restaurant
Jake Lowndes began his Stoke on Trent College journey back in 2012 where he studied a Science Access course as a progression route into Manchester Metropolitan University Business School. Whilst at University, Jake specialised in Business Enterprise and as part of his final year, he was tasked with setting up his own business and presenting the venture in a Dragons Den style format.
These experiences fed into Jake’s natural entrepreneurial spirit which eventually led him to start up his own restaurant business in 2016 – Little Seeds! Prior to this, Jake gained his 8-years industry experience through working at several rosette restaurants! Little Seeds is a fine dining restaurant based in the foodie market town of Stone in Staffordshire.
Their aim is to create a menu that reflects Staffordshire’s landscape by using the finest and freshest local ingredients. To give dishes a unique flavour, they grow rare herb varieties in their kitchen garden, bake bread daily, make their own stocks, sauces, desserts and ice creams from scratch!
Molly Gould – Sponsorship, Promotions & Interactive Coordinator at Signal Radio
Thanks to the course at Stoke on Trent College, Molly got the skills she needed to launch a successful media career. Molly is now employed as the Sponsorship, Promotions & Interactive Coordinator at Signal 1 Radio, which has over 795,000 listeners across Staffordshire and Cheshire. Molly said: “I learnt a lot about the radio industry which I found helpful when it came to getting a job in the industry.
The Radio Production course was exactly what I was looking for and also had a good
reputation. As part of the course, I got to go to The Radio Academy’s ‘Foot in the Door’ event where I got to meet Industry Professionals. Stoke on Trent College helped me gain valuable experience and knowledge along with skills needed to meet Industry Standards. It has without doubt helped me start my career in Radio!
I would say to anyone thinking about taking this course to take every opportunity this offers; be nosey… You never know what it could lead to!”
Lee Buxton – CITB apprentice at Peter Fearns
Lee Buxton triumphed at the West Nottinghamshire regional heat of SkillBuild and went on to compete against the other
regional winners at the Skills Show, the UK’s biggest skills and careers show, which takes place at the NEC Birmingham.
Lee, a CITB apprentice, is employed by Peter Fearns and competed in the Bricklaying category against the best trainees in the country. The three-day competition is staged by CITB, the
Sector Skills Council and Industry Training Board for the construction industry, see over 100 talented individuals
battling to be crowned the best in their field in a range of skills from Stonemasonry to Painting and Decorating.
Lee is at Stoke on Trent College completing an advanced apprenticeship in bricklaying.
Rachel Shenton – TV Actress
Since leaving Stoke on Trent College, Rachel landed cameos in a number of TV shows including Holby City, Waterloo Road and Doctors. In 2010 Rachel landed a lead role in the hit TV show, Hollyoaks playing Mitzee Minniver.
More recently, Rachel made her television debut in the United States as Lilly Summers in Switched at Birth; the highest-rated show on the ABC Family network to date. It tells the story of two teenage girls who discover they were accidentally switched as newborns in the hospital. Rachel joins an impressive cast list on the show including Lucas Grabeel, of High School Musical fame, Breaking Bad’s RJ Mitte and Academy Award-winning actress Marlee Matlin.
As a former student, Rachel regularly returns to Stoke on Trent College to deliver workshops that help current learners get first-hand advice about the industry and help them prepare for careers on stage and screen. During a recent visit Rachel said: “I thought it would be nice if I could give something back to help young people. I’m not here to teach anybody drama, but I can give industry advice. It’s things like how you get auditions and get an agent. I worked very hard and joined a theatre company, which toured England. I learnt by doing.”
“My key advice would be to get as much work as you can, whether that’s paid or unpaid, local or amateur theatre,”
Andrea Gordon – WorldSkills Champion in Nail Art
Andrea joined Stoke on Trent College to help land her dream job. Since then, Andrea’s creativity and talents have wowed judges and seen her be crowned the UK champion for nail art.
Andrea said: “I’d always worked in dead-end jobs, but all the time I had the ambition to do something for myself. Now I love my job. My clients are all sorts of ages,” she explains, “the eldest is in her 80s. It
doesn’t matter what age you are, women will always want lovely looking nails. I like it because no two days are the same. I get to display my arty side. It’s good to follow your passion because you never know where it will lead.” Andrea, who now runs her own business, recently won 1st place at the WorldSkills UK competition.
She added: “I really wanted to show the judges what I could do. I went for Alice In Wonderland theme. I created a light-up diamond-encrusted magic mushroom, a teapot pouring tea into a cup, and a Cheshire cat with flashing eyes. I worked really, really hard to make it work, to show them what I was capable of. I was over the moon when I won – there were a lot of tears.”