Saint Paul’s Pupils Working towards Apprenticeships

September 15th, 2014

Three Year 11 pupils from Saint Paul’s Catholic High School in Wythenshawe have benefitted from a weekly one day placement with Wythenshawe Community Housing Group as part of a work related learning development programme. 

The scheme is giving Anthony Morris, Shane McDaid and Nathan Pollard both a taste of what real life’s all about, providing them with a great chance to experience the working environment and developing the skills they’re going to need for the future. 

The boys are learning all aspects of construction and they are taking a level 2 qualification in construction which they are on track to complete in one year. This will be a significant achievement as in school qualifications of this type usually take two years. 

The boys’ learning is a combination of practical on site building skills at a variety of locations in Wythenshawe together with classroom work at Parkway Green House in Northenden. 

Antony, Shane and Nathan will finish their placement in June of this year and hopefully, subject to interview, go on to a four year apprenticeship with Wythenshawe Community Housing Group. 

 “Anthony, Shane and Nathan attend the Gateway Project every Wednesday focusing on developing their practical skills and studying for a level 2 diploma in Construction,” explained Mr Mike Whiteside, Assistant Headteacher at Saint Paul’s. “The boys’ commitment can be seen in the fact that even during the school holidays, the boys attend the project and continue with their learning.”

Mr Whiteside continued: “We are working closely with the employers and appreciate the role they play in improving the employment prospects of young people and creating the highly skilled workforce this country needs. The training provides a real progression opportunity and is often the first step on the ladder to successful employment for some pupils; employers have the opportunity to identify and engage with promising talent and the students have the opportunity to make a more informed choice about what career is right for them and demonstrate to future employers how they have applied their studies to the world of work.”

 “The placements are designed to give pupils experience of working life and the key skills needed in the workplace,” added Mrs Fiona Minshall, Head Teacher at Saint Paul’s. “We are very grateful to those employers who are kind enough to offer our pupils such a valuable experience. In addition to the excellent opportunity to develop skills and see what work is really like, the placements result in increased self-confidence, self-knowledge, motivation and independence and allow the students to develop their communication skills.”

Budehaven Students Prepare for Food Fest First

September 11th, 2014

It’s really what community should be all about. Local businesses working alongside local education. And, of course, in #BigUpBude, that’s what happens!

On Thursday 9th September local chef, Francisco Parody-Candea worked with five Budehaven GCSE catering students to cook the perfect paella. Basking in the Cornish sunshine, Francisco (or Paco, as he is known) cooked food the way it is meant to be, al fresco, because, as he says, all food tastes better cooked outside. That explains the popularity of barbecues then!

Originally hailing from La Linea de Concepcion, Paco is partner of Ali Beech, ace baker and macaron maker, from Made With Love, but also a vital force, in partnership with others,  in bringing amazing food to Bude.

Based at Norton Barton, along with companies like Cornish Charcuterie and Whalesborough Cheese, Paco is one of the chefs involved in the Bude Food Festival, and will perform the chef demo opener with the Budehaven students at Bude Food Festival. The public will be able to taste the food from the Budehaven demo free of charge.

Under Paco’s expert but affable eye, the students made paella, and also Valencia’s dish,  Fideuà, which is a paella made with vermicelli or noodles.

Their visit to Norton Barton was part of a prize as winners of last year’s cake competition held in the school, which was judged by Paco and Helen of Mrs M’s Cakes.

The students were very enthusiastic about Paco’s use of fresh ingredients, with some of them encountering foods they had not tried before such as mussels (which they’d seen at the beach but not tasted) and artichokes.

The students felt it was a really useful morning, not least as they had never previously visited the spanking new teaching kitchen at Norton Barton. Their teachers, Mrs Windle and Ms Hassall, also enjoyed getting the students out of the classroom to see and experience ‘hands on’ food preparation in action, putting the theory they teach into excellent practice.

One student felt it was encouraging to see that people can develop very successful careers in catering. Another was interested to see how changing an ingredient (e.g., rice/noodles) can turn one dish into something else.

All the students were amazed that Paco had shown them how to create a one-pot traditional peasant meal for 15 people or more, using fresh ingredients,  for the grand sum of £9, which shows that anyone can eat well at minimal cost if they know how. Good life lessons. Even a self-professed ‘fussy’ eater tried the new flavours.  Teacher, Mrs Windle, said the experience reminded her of childhood holidays in Spain with big pans of paella cooked by the pool.

The students do not seem fazed by opening the Food Festival chef demos, and indeed, some are really looking forward to it. Thursday was something of a preliminary prep session, a rehearsal, though Spotlight are expected to be there on the big day, not just Bude & Beyond! What a fantastic experience the Festival is affording these local students.

At least the students – Libby Couch, Gemma Curtis, Courtney Peirson, Karina Brownell and Jess Jerwood – have had chance to get to know Paco, and test their skills which they can apply at the Festival. It’ll certainly look good on their CVs. They have a range of career ambitions from Flybe stewardess training, through to agriculture, hair and beauty, and midwifery, but it wouldn’t surprise me if at least one of them is not now inspired towards a catering career.

Meanwhile, as Paco says paella is the biggest austerity dish going. It can include whatever is available from rabbit to pheasant, or different veg, sea foods or fruits.

See it prepared and taste it for yourself at Bude Food Festival which runs on 20th – 21st September, and go home feeling inspired to have a shot at making it yourself!

Dawn Robinson-Walsh