Many Cooks

Many college cooks make light work of relaunch

A RECORD number of Stoke on Trent College students have been taken on by a new employer whose business officially launches next week.

Just five months after recruitment giant REED NCFE teamed up with Stoke on Trent College and took up office at their Cauldon and Burslem Campuses, the team are now celebrating their biggest success so far – placing 14 catering and hospitality students into jobs at the Birches Head Hotel.

The hotel, which has undergone a complete refurbishment under the watchful eye of new licensee Peter Dawson and partner Jennifer Viggars, is holding an official launch on Monday, after the pair were able to source the majority of their staff from the college.

Jamie Evans, employment team leader for REED NCFE, said:

“The recruitment work was done by our employment broker Alex Taylor, who sifted through all the candidates and screened the most suitable people, before arranging for Peter and Jennifer to come in over two days to conduct the interviews at the Cauldon Campus. For Peter, using us will have considerably cut his recruitment costs as he didn’t need to advertise for all those positions, and it’s a really great result all round and we’re absolutely delighted for him and for the successful students. It certainly goes to show that the quality of Stoke on Trent College students coming through is really high, and that they do have the qualifications, skills and mindset which employers are really looking for.”

Licensee Peter, said the main drive for the business was that everything for the pub should be locally sourced, from the crockery to the food – and that included his staff.

He said:

“The students are brilliant. They are so enthusiastic and so happy that someone has actually given them an opportunity to work, and who knows, one day they will look to open their own restaurants and pubs. We believe everyone needs a hand up in life, and I’d rather give people a chance to gain experience. This way the staff can grow with us and the business, and we can train them and mould them to what our business needs. Some of them are already qualified to Level 3 and they’ve only just turned 18, which says to me they must be extremely able cooks – all they  needed was someone to give them a chance. We found dealing Alex and the staff at REED NCFE were brilliant, and the advantage of recruiting from Stoke on Trent College is that you know they are all properly trained and have all the relevant certificates and qualifications in things like health and safety – so why wouldn’t you employ them?”

The roll call of Stoke on Trent College students joining the staff at the Birches Head Hotel is as follows:

  • Stacey Foster (pastry chef)
  • Tom Currie (head chef)
  • Tanya Plant (head chef)
  • Wesley Cannonier (chef)
  • Andy Price (chef)
  • Jordan Simcock (chef)
  • Giovanni Trueman (kitchen porter)
  • Rebecca Ridgeway (kitchen porter)
  • Scott Adams (waiter/bar staff)
  • Josh Cole (bar/waiting staff)
  • Joanne Sommers (bar/waiting staff)
  • Kayleigh Morris (waitress)
  • Rachel Mason (waitress)
  • Charlotte Ellisdale (waitress)

While this is the largest number of students to have been placed with one employer, it is one of several success stories from the college REED NCFE team.

For media queries contact Kerryanne Clancy ( on 01782 284616.

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