Spotlight on Talent: Melissa Instone and Gareth Baugh | Walsall College
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Spotlight on Talent: Melissa Instone and Gareth Baugh

Melissa Instone and Gareth Baugh are some of the students who work and volunteer in the Bistro at Hawbush Campus. At the start of the academic year, Liza-Jo Guyatt – Head of Adult and Community Learning Cluster - identified a need for staff to run the Bistro during the morning, as it was originally closed at breakfast time.

An advertisement was put out to College staff and catering students, which led to several students being put through an official recruitment process. Following a formal interview, Melissa and Gareth who were selected to fulfil the morning supply and demand of breakfast at the College’s Hawbush Campus.

With both students studying a Hospitality and Catering course at the campus, the experience at the Bistro will help to enhance the skills they are already developing as part of their studies. We speak to the pair about their time at Walsall College’s Adult and Community Learning campus and their plans for the future…

Interview with Melissa who studies Professional Level 1 Hospitality and Catering and works as an employee at the college

What did you do before you joined the Hospitality and Catering programme at the Hawbush Campus?

I attended another college and didn’t enjoy the learning experience so came to Hawbush and did a functional skills course for English and Maths.

Why did you choose to do Hospitality and Catering?

It was something different to do and when the course was introduced to me after completing functional skills, I found it interesting and a good route to employment.

Where do you see yourself once the course is over?

I will progress onto Level 2 in Hospitality and Catering and then hope to get a job. I am open to options at the moment in the industry and think that Level 2 will open more doors into employment. I am currently working in the Bistro as an employee for around 7 hours a week and hope I can increase this in future as I really enjoy it.

What advice would you give to anyone interested in the hospitality and catering course at Hawbush Campus?

It is a really good course and the staff are really friendly and supportive and have given me ideas of what I can do when I finish.

What do you like to do outside of college?

I like spending time with my friends and family, especially for my nieces, preparing Sunday dinners which I’ve become really good at and making cottage pie for my sister.

Interview with Gareth Baugh, aged 32, a volunteer at the Bistro and also studying Professional Level 1 Hospitality and Catering

What did you do before you joined the Hospitality and Catering programme at the Hawbush Campus?

I was offered an opportunity to attend a residential catering college in Nottingham but wanted to stay closer to home. I went to another college to study but it didn’t suit my needs so Walsall Adult and Community Learning was recommended to me by a friend. I came along and took part in a “Come Dine with Me” activity and signed up right away!

Why did you choose to do Hospitality and Catering?

I wanted to improve my cooking skills at home and found it was also something I enjoyed. I have built a high level of trust with my tutors and peers to give me a better learning experience and I don’t think I would have found that elsewhere. I get to come to college 4 days a week and on 2 of the days, I volunteer in the Bistro for a few hours.

Where do you see yourself once the course is over?

I will progress onto Level 2 in Hospitality and Catering. I don’t mind being a waiter or porter because I’m great at taking orders. I enjoy working with people, delivering great customer service and volunteering in the Bistro has helped build my confidence levels. I also think I’d make a pretty good host!

What advice would you give to anyone interested in the Hospitality and Catering course at Hawbush Campus?

It’s a great course with lots to learn. Make sure to work hard and concentrate.

What do you like to do outside of college?

I like gaming and hanging out with my friends. I’m still attempting to cook for them! I particularly enjoy making cakes and I’m working on perfecting a lemon and coconut cake recipe which is my mum’s favourite!

Walsall College’s Hawbush and Whitehall Campuses hold a wide range of courses for adult learners, including Construction, Health and Social Care, Beauty therapy, Business and Accounting, Catering and Hospitality, Horticulture, Teaching and Learning, Computing and ICT, Maths and English, Supported Learning, Childcare and ESOL and Languages.

For more information about enrolling on a course at Walsall College, please call 01922 657000. 

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