College catering and hospitality students started the event by putting on a buffet style lunch at 64 Restaurant consisting of ciabatta pressed sandwiches, chargrilled chicken tikka and mango chutney sandwiches, baked tortillas with salsa, crudités and chocolate brownies.
Sarah Budd, Hospitality and Tourism Associate Lecturer, said: “It’s fantastic for our students to meet employers of the industry and have that connection. It’s really good for the students that they come straight from school to us and have the opportunity to mingle with employers.
“They were nervous at the prospect of the event before the event, but they did really well. It’s fantastic for them to meet employers.”
Second year student, Zach White, said: “It’s going great. I feel the course has been very well organised and I’m learning a lot.
“At first, it started quite slowly, and I wasn’t sure if I liked the course but - out of nowhere - I started enjoying the food I was cooking and grew a passion for it. That followed on for the rest of the year and now I’d say this is for me. By the end of my first year, I was adamant that this is what I want to do."
Moving forward, Zach has dreams of doing an apprenticeship at a “prestigious” institute, such as Goodwood or The Dorchester to further his experience and qualifications, before climbing the ladder.
He said: “I aimed really low before I came to this college. I thought I could be a chef in a very local kitchen, but now I’m aiming very prestigious and that is all down to the course that has made it completely possible to aim a lot higher. Now I’m excelling four or five times higher than I was when I first started here.
“Our lecturers never cut us short and always push us to do the best we can. They make you realise that this is possible and it’s not scary.”
Speaking to students at the Service Industries Exhibition, a representative from Goodwood, said: “Events like these are super important because students get a feel for what’s available locally.
“It’s all a bit scary when you’re at school and college but when you start speaking to employers and see what’s available and what you have to do to get there and what their choices are, it can be really motivating and give you the confidence.
“It’s also quite safe at college and scary in the big wide world and for us it’s a matter of having a chat and letting students know it’s all normal and employers are exactly the same as teachers and we want to encourage them to put their names forward.”