Talented students from Middlesbrough College are being snapped up by employers across Teesside.
The latest to be offered a permanent position is Shaun Thompson who’s just completed an Apprenticeship in Professional Cookery Level Two.
Shaun is satisfying the appetites of discerning visitors at one of Teesside’s fastest developing retail and leisure areas.
The 24-year-old has joined the team at Chilli Cake Deli at Baker Street in Middlesbrough, and is now planning to complete a Level Three Apprenticeship in Hospitality Supervision.
Shaun, from Priestfields in the town, had several other jobs, including being a carpet fitter, before deciding his future lay in food.
He said: “I’ve always loved cooking since doing it at school but since then I’ve tried lots of different jobs.
“I kind of fell out of love with cooking for a time but when the opportunity came along to train properly I jumped at the chance and I’m so glad I did.
“The skills and professional standards I was taught at Middlesbrough College were spot on, I couldn’t have asked for more.
“The team at Chilli Cake Deli have also been amazing and I couldn’t wish to be working with a better group of people.”
Lynne Alderson, director of programme for service industries and retail skills at Middlesbrough College, said: “It’s always great news when we see a student or apprentice being offered a permanent role and we are thrilled for Shaun.
“He joins a long list of former students who are now doing what they love.
“Middlesbrough College has a long tradition of delivering first class training in catering and hospitality and the chefs we have trained are now working in some of the best restaurants and hotel kitchens in this country and overseas.
“We believe in offering students as many opportunities to add to their learning as possible, and we help them to secure work experience in many different places.
“We work with many local employers including the highly-talented teams at the Thistle Hotel Middlesbrough, Gisborough Hall, Brasserie Hudson Quay, Real Meals Saltburn and Chilli Cake Deli.
“Middlesbrough College has also helped students to secure work experience with their food heroes, including the internationally-renowned Raymond Blanc and Angela Hartnett.”
Chilli Cake Deli owner James Stoker describes the café as “a world away from your usual, branded high street coffee or sandwich shop”.
The business employs 12 people across two sites and is about to open a new venture in Hartlepool.
James is now looking to recruit an apprentice for the new outlet.
He said: “We’re all foodies who love good, honest, healthy cooking, and we know our customers appreciate what we do.
“Shaun has proved himself a fantastic addition to the team – he’s a skilled cook and his love of food together with his enthusiasm and dedication mean he fits in perfectly.”
Another apprentice at the Baker Street café is Middlesbrough College student Jodi Leigh.
The 19-year-old is also studying Professional Cookery and is keen to develop Chilli Cake Deli’s new range of cold pressed juices and event and business catering opportunities.