Call for more awareness of vocational and non-uni training

School leavers need to know you don’t need to go to university to have a rewarding career, says Edinburgh cookery school founder

Edinburgh businesswoman Fiona Burrell, who is the founder and principal of Edinburgh New Town Cookery School, is calling for more awareness of the vocational and non-university options open to students looking for their next move after finishing secondary school.
Burrell says courses offering practical training can very often lead to rewarding careers, setting young people on the path to independence as they enter paid work more quickly.
An Edinburgh New Town Cookery School student
She said: “Results day looms large for students and it marks the entry to the next stage of study. While university is a rewarding route for many, it is not the only way to forge a successful career, and even students who have worked hard to win a place at university sometimes find after a year or so that it isn’t what they want to do.
“Many students have come to us as an alternative to university and in as little as three or six months we have prepared them for a career in the food industry and they are set up for life.  We have seen our graduates go on to a wide range of careers once they have completed a course with us. Many young graduates quickly find work with prestigious restaurants and catering companies or use the skills they’ve acquired to work as private chefs both in the UK and overseas. Others may go on to become the food stylists or writers of the future.”
One Edinburgh New Town Cookery School graduates is Emma Louise McGettrick,who attended the Six-Month Practical Cookery Diploma in September 2012. Since then, she has worked in a number of Edinburgh restaurants including Mark Greenaway. She recently moved to London and is now working for Chef Robin Gill.
Another is Roly Simpson who, after a 12-year career in estate agency, took the Six-Month Practical Cookery Diploma Course in 2016. He has recently set up his own supper club and bespoke catering business in Edinburgh called Toasted Radish.
The cook school offers a range of courses, recognised by the industry:
Six-Month Practical Cookery Diploma: is the Three Month Beginners and Intermediate Certificate Course combined and gives an immediate stepping stone into a rewarding career within a professional kitchen.  Next course begins: 18 September 2017.
Three-Month Intermediate Certificate Course: is designed for people with a solid knowledge and ability in basic cookery. It’s ideal for those wishing to take their cookery skills to the next level or for competent cooks who wish to have a formal training. Next course begins:  8 January 2018
Three-Month Beginners Certificate Course: provides comprehensive training in cooking practices run by professional chefs who are also excellent teachers.  Designed for those who wish to enter the food industry, this course is the first step to learning classical cookery skills.  Next course begins: 18 September 2017.
One-Month Course: basic cookery skills and an introduction to the professional kitchen.  Ideal for students looking for work in shooting lodges, villas abroad or ski chalets over the summer/winter or on a gap year. It is also perfect for school leavers on their way to university or university students who want a skill to help them earn money in the holidays.  Next Courses summer 2018
Burrell said: “I would encourage any young person who is unsure of their next move to look at what they are passionate about. We are always impressed by the enthusiasm our students have for food and cooking, and we are able to teach the skills and practical planning that ensures they have the makings of smart businesspeople as well as being great cooks.”
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