22nd April 2020
We chatted to the Group Catering Manager here at NSCG, Nigel Edwards, to talk about his career experiences prior to joining the college, advice for those thinking of getting into the industry and much more...
Q: How did you get in to the Hospitality & Catering industry?
A: I was inspired at a young age by my grandmother, who was a fabulous Cook. After leaving high school years ago, I gained a catering apprentice position with BP OIL Refinery in South Wales and completed what was then known as a City & Guilds Hospitality & Catering Course.
Q: Tell us a bit about your experiences before you joined the College.
A: Where do I Start?! I haven’t always been in the Hospitality & Catering Industry and have had quite a broad number of roles. I’ve worked as a Locality Manager in Health & Social Care with a local charity and the NHS; I’ve been a Regional Training Manager for Morrison’s Supermarkets; a Hotel Manager; a Restaurant Manager; a Cook for Residential Care homes in and around Stoke-on-Trent and Stafford and a Department Manager in various departments in Tesco stores in Wales, Bristol and Stoke-on-Trent.
Q: What challenges have you faced in your career and how have you overcome them?
A: One of my main challenges was setting up a new kitchen from scratch, in 12 weeks! Although I essentially had a blank canvas to work with, I had very little money to spend as this was for a charity organisation and I was required to plan menus, policies and procedures, meet with suppliers, as well as interview and train staff for a variety of positions. As I only had 12 weeks to do it all, as you can imagine, it was a very pressured and stressful time. But I was able to overcome it, by planning ahead and prioritising my workload.
Q: What is your favourite type of cuisine to cook and why?
A: Pub food! You absolutely can’t go wrong! You can keep it basic if you want, or you use your full culinary skills and promote a top market menu.
Q: What do you love most about working at the College?
A: Having worked in a number of roles where I’m required to work all sorts of hours on different shifts, it’s nice to have a Monday to Friday job. I’m also really like the flexibility and freedom I’m given and am very much left to manage the departments how I see fit, but I know that I have got the backing of the Senior Management Team, for any advice that is needed to fulfil my role.
Q: What makes a good employee in the Hospitality & Catering industry?
A: Someone who is passionate, willing and hardworking as well as being a good team player and a good listener.
Q: What advice would you give to your 15 year old self?
A: You must be 100% willing to do long and unsociable hours. You must have a real passion for the Hospitality & Catering industry as it can be tough at times, but can be very satisfying and rewarding at the end. It can be a very hard job, but you get back what you invest.
Q: Would you say that there any key attributes that people wanting to work in the Hospitality & Catering industry needs to have?
A: Passionate, reliable and trustworthy, a strong eye for detail, level-headed and a good sense of humour!
Q: What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the industry?
A: This can be a fantastic industry to be in, it really can. I would say work hard, show willing and the world is your oyster.
If you would like to find out more about studying on one of our Hospitality and Catering courses, visit https://nscg.ac.uk/study/course-departments/hospitality-catering for more information.