“This course has changed my life. Before I started I would just be sitting at home and feeling sorry for myself. Now I’m like ‘get up, get out’ and keep myself busy and motivated”
Two years ago catering student Susan Farrelly (23) was unsure what direction to take in life. Since completing her Leaving Certificate, the Tallaght woman had been in and out of courses before discovering her love for culinary arts with the National Learning Network (NLN). Recently, Susan has started first full time job working in a hotel kitchen.
“I’ve been out of school for six years now and have been doing a lot of courses, but none of them suited me,” says Susan.
“I went to college and studied office skills for a few weeks, but it just wasn’t for me. I lose concentration if I’m sitting in a class all day, whereas in the kitchen I am on my feet and feeling motivated. When I first started the NLN course I was the newbie and didn’t know anybody. But within two days I had made friends. Nobody made me feel uncomfortable, all the students and staff were really welcoming.”
The kitchen inside the NLN Tallaght centre is fully operational and delicious lunches, ranging from chilli con carne to pasta bakes, are cooked up by the culinary students and served to both staff and students.
“The best part is getting up in the morning, coming into the kitchen, serving the customers and knowing they are happy with our food,” says Susan.
“This course has changed my life. Before I started this course I would just be sitting at home and feeling sorry for myself. Now I’m like ‘get up, get out’ and keep myself busy and motivated. Don’t just sit around.”
Susan is now beaming with pride after landing a job in the hotel catering industry.
After requesting work experience with a hotel, the management were impressed with her skills and offered her a full-time job.
“This will be my first proper job. I don’t want to be on the welfare anymore, I don’t want to be a job seeker. I want to be out working. If I didn’t do this course I think I would be still looking for a job, still looking to get a qualification.
“Within five years I want to be a chef and be up there with the likes of Gordon Ramsey….NLN has given me that chance,” added Susan.