Restaurant supervisor Emily Quick had a very different career in mind whilst at school. For most of her life, Emily had dreamed of working with animals and after finishing secondary school, she studied animal management at Duchy College.
Having had a tricky time at school, Emily said she left without any “good” GCSEs, but was lucky to be accepted onto the level 3 qualification. Whilst at Duchy College, Emily found a part-time job at a local hotel; a job that ultimately turned into a career.
Emily said: “I enjoyed my animal management course, but I was bitten by the hospitality bug. I can’t really explain what it was, but something clicked and I realised this was the industry for me. I decided to leave college after the first year and began working full-time whilst doing a part-time house-keeping course with HIT Training. It was at this point I found out I was pregnant.”
Starting college and choosing careers can be a difficult time for any young person, but this can become even more of a challenge when you become a young parent. However, nothing would get in the way of Emily chasing her newfound passion, and she decided to enrol onto a hospitality course at City College, convinced this was the place for her thanks to the onsite nursery.
“The funding to help towards the costs of childcare helped a great deal; I am not sure I would have been able to do it otherwise. I enrolled onto the Level 3 Diploma in Supervisory of Food and Beverage on a trial basis at first.
“Luckily, I seemed to find my niche; the course felt like a perfect fit. After finishing the level 3, I decided to do the Foundation Degree. The prospect of lower fees, smaller classes and a familiar campus made staying at the College a much more attractive prospect than attending a university.”
From the encouragement of the lecturers to the many opportunities offered at the College, Emily said it was hard to think of something she didn’t enjoy about the experience. “There was always so much to get involved with: working in the restaurant, helping out with functions, and you got to meet people from all walks of life,” she explained. “The lecturers are all fantastic and make you feel really comfortable; they were always there when I needed that extra bit of encouragement.”
Emily was also given the opportunity to travel to Italy for two weeks thanks to the Erasmus+ programme. Emily explained: “The Erasmus opportunity was amazing and definitely an eye-opener. I was fortunate enough to go to Bardolino, fully funded.
“The trip really helped enhance my knowledge of wines and food, and I saw just how crucial the hospitality trade is to other parts of the world. As a young parent, I’m not sure I would have had the chance to do that without the support of Erasmus+.”
Having completed her studies, Emily is now working at the Dartmoor Diner. Within a few months of starting, Emily was promoted to supervisor and has been encouraged by the restaurant’s owner to use the huge variety of skills acquired during her course. Emily has been given the role of marketing manager for the diner, and uses many of the skills she picked up from the Foundation Degree to promote the diner to new customers.
Emily said: “Without having covered marketing on the course, I wouldn’t have been as confident with taking on this role. Since COVID-19, marketing has been more important than ever to enable us to reach our customers and to let them know about the measures we’ve put in place and to help them feel reassured about coming to the diner.
“They say you don’t work a day in your life if you enjoy your job, and that is exactly me. I enjoy my job. I like making sure customer expectations are met.
“Don’t let your fears about starting something new put you off, take the plunge. If there is something you want to do at the College – even as a young parent – just go for it. If you set your mind to it, they will help you to see it through. I would also highly recommend participating in an Erasmus+ programme. There are very few times in life you will ever get the chance to go on a fully funded trip abroad that enables you to learn more about something you enjoy while having fun at the same time.”