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Having always enjoyed cookery at school, Owen Mildren decided to turn this enjoyment into a career and chose to study at City College after a family member recommended the College because of its supportive staff and the quality of its facilities.
Although he knew he wanted to work in hospitality, Owen chose to study a course that would allow him to develop his skills both in the kitchen and front-of-house, and opted for the Diploma in Professional Skills in Hospitality, Catering and Tourism.
A proud member of the College, Owen has fully embraced student life and enjoys the different opportunities offered on campus, including joining the team of student ambassadors who help out at events such as open days, but more recently Owen has been putting his catering skills into practice after finding work in a busy hospital kitchen.
Owen said: “I have really enjoyed my course – it has provided me with some of the best years of my life and I am really excited at the prospect of furthering my skills by studying for a level 3 qualification.
“I enjoy all aspects of working in the restaurant industry: while I really like the satisfaction you get from cooking something special, I also enjoy meeting new people when working front-of-house.”
Owen is currently working 60 hours a week at the Nuffield Health Plymouth Hospital, where he has joined the team providing meals for patients and key workers. With aims of one day owning his own restaurant, Owen admitted this was an area of the industry he hadn’t really considered before.
He said: “I hadn’t really thought about hospital catering before, but I am absolutely loving it. It has revealed a whole new dimension of the industry that I have previously overlooked, but it goes to show how many opportunities there are in the industry and how much they can vary.”
Owen went on to explain that one of the best parts of his new job has been providing meals to patients receiving cancer treatment. He added: “I’ve had family members affected by cancer and I think it is important to try and do something to make this horrible process a little easier. I like to put in that extra bit of effort to give them a happy experience and being able to do so is incredibly rewarding.”
Working 60 hours a week while finishing his studies has been quite a juggle for Owen, but he said he is grateful for the support he has received from lecturers, who have taken his circumstances into consideration.
“The lecturers have been very helpful – nothing is ever too much trouble,” he said. “It was with their support that I got this job through finding me an opportunity for work experience, and they are always happy to go that extra mile to help me.”
While the College is currently delivering its courses online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, when on campus Owen said he loved the team mentality among his course mates and being able to study alongside a variety of people who all bring something different to the course.
Owen said: “If you are thinking about this course, I would say just go for it. I’ve had some of the best experiences in my life while at the College while also preparing for the career of my choice.”
Owen’s tutor, Jamie McMurrich, said: “Owen would admit himself that he struggled at school and hadn’t always been seen in the best light. Since joining us two years ago Owen has grown so much as an individual and team player and will undoubtedly be successful in this industry as he has been here at the College. It has been a pleasure to be his teacher and tutor!”