Catering students test the waters with the Royal Navy

27 April 2018

Royal Navy chefs swapped the high seas for the Tees and treated hungry Middlesbrough College students to a careers day with a difference.

Able Seaman Jack Thompson, 26, and Royal Navy Chef Millie Francis, 22, delivered interactive ‘Ready Steady Cook’-style demonstrations, as well as sharing their stories with Middlesbrough College’s catering students.

It was familiar ground for Jack, who studied sports science at the College before joining the Royal Navy.

Jack, from Acklam, said: “I was working in the oil and gas industry but became bored of my 9 to 5 – and the constant worry about job security.

“Joining the Royal Navy has opened up so many opportunities that I wouldn’t get in civilian life.

“It’s great to be able to come back to the College and share my experiences and career journey with the students.”

Millie, who is from Middlesbrough, joined the Royal Navy on a Level 2 apprenticeship before qualifying as a chef.

She said: “My day-to-day role includes preparing meals for the ship’s company – as well as visiting dignitaries and royalty.

“It’s been a fantastic experience for me. I’ve made so many friends and have a real sense of pride in my job that I don’t think I’d have elsewhere.”

Middlesbrough College offers a range of catering and hospitality courses, including a degree-level qualification in Hospitality & Culinary Arts Management via the Open University. Students have the opportunity to work in its on-site restaurant, Waterside Brasserie, which is open to the public.

Curriculum team leader Molly Shaher said: “The Royal Navy visited as part of our ongoing programme to show our students the types of careers on offer in the catering and hospitality industry.

“Inviting organisations to the College gives them an opportunity to learn about different routes and options they wouldn’t otherwise consider.”

Navy career adviser Petty Officer Dennis Harrison said: “the message is out there that the Navy is a great employer but many people don’t realise the different entry routes and working environments available.

“Middlesbrough and the surrounding areas have a long history with the Royal Navy – from Captain Cook to the present day. It’s fantastic to see this tradition continuing into the next generation.”
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