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Philip WilliamsAdult student Philip Williams, 44, had built a career since leaving school. Having been made redundant, he took up a position at B&Q. Twelve years on, redundancy struck again and Philip from Sutton Manor, St Helens was left unemployed.

The industry he had known and worked in for his whole life had changed. Philip took the decision to look for a new profession and started on a Government work programme with Ingeus in order to help him find a new job. His advisor suggested a College course and in 2012 Phil started on a free six-week hospitality taster course. Upon completion, Phil realised that he had always had a passion for cooking, he had just never put it into practice so, with some reassurance from his course tutor he then applied for the NVQ level 2 diploma in professional cookery.

Phil approached the College’s Finance and Welfare Officer to see if he could access any financial support to help with his studies and was delighted to find out that he was eligible for a bursary. The bursary helped cover his course costs. Phil says “The College was really helpful in terms of advice and reassurance – thanks to the advice I now get a free breakfast, free bus pass, free uniform, knives and course books”.

Phil adds “I am now so proud to be able to say that I am a qualified chef, I can’t believe that I am now a source of inspiration for others. I can honestly say that coming to college has been one of the best decisions that I have made – I love the camaraderie of the kitchen and working with all of the different characters”.

Phil progressed onto the level 3 diploma in professional cookery and now works full-time as an assistant cook at St Helens Hall and Lodge Care Home. Phil chose to work here as he has the chance to use fresh ingredients daily.