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Andrew overcomes lockdown lay-off to kick-start a tasty career


A working kitchen is important to any chef learning his trade, but one apprentice has shown that with the right perseverance and help, qualifications can be obtained – even in lockdown!

Andrew Simpson had been working and training at the prestigious Riviera International Centre in Torquay.

For many months he had been heading towards gaining qualifications to become a level 2 Commis Chef, training alongside Swatpro Academy’s Del Anning and working with the Riviera’s head chef, Steve Pask and his team.

The hard work looked set to pay off, but on the day when Andrew was set to undergo his End Point Assessment (EPA), the government closed all hospitality venues as part of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Later, worse news came. With the centre unable to host any conferences and meetings, it was forced to make mass redundancies.

Andrew, along with most of his colleagues, lost his job. Nonetheless, he was determined to finish his training.

“It was a massive challenge, not studying for so long or being in the kitchen and doing the day-to-day. I had to get my head in the game otherwise I wouldn’t have passed,” he recalls.

Del’s help enabled Andrew to retain focus and continue learning. With the help of regular calls, video demonstrations and other online learning, Andrew was ready to shine when he finally undertook his EPA.

“[Del] gave me all the study material I needed, such as a mock exam papers. He was amazing - giving me all the equipment and materials to complete my course,” Andrew says.

Andrew’s determination and positivity has worked well. He has now passed his assessments gaining four distinctions in all four assignments and is now ready to continue his career as a qualified Commis Chef.

He is enthusiastic in his praise for Del’s mentoring and Swatpro’s individually tailored approach to learning.

“I would 100 per cent recommend Del to others. He’s a great tutor and helped me all the way through this course ‘till the end and without his help I wouldn’t have passed. I felt very happy that we finally did it and also very happy with the results. I worked hard to get them.”