Jack’s Story

young chef, cookingAt 18 years old, I joined CXK’s first Prince’s Trust Team Programme in Canterbury. I was looking for work, and guided towards the scheme by an adviser at the Job Centre. When I looked into it, I felt the programme could help me to build skills and confidence. It could also provide me with some valuable work experience that might help me to take some positive next steps. At the time, I hadn’t a clue what I wanted to do for a career, so thought I’d give it a go. I really hoped the Team Programme would help give me some direction.

I wasn’t disappointed. For the second week of the programme we went away on a residential trip to an outdoor activity centre. While we were there, we took part in extreme and challenging outdoor activities that pushed us to our limits. We found ourselves taking part in activities that we never thought we would have the ability to complete. In doing so we proved to ourselves that we could do it. It really helped to build our confidence.

“I realised I had a passion for cooking”

While we were away, I realised that I wanted to cook every night, that I had a passion for cooking. When later in the programme, we sourced work experience opportunities tailored to our area of interest, I chose catering, and spent two weeks working in the kitchen of Canterbury Cathedral Hotel Lodge.

Later in the programme we spent two weeks designing and delivering a community project. This required us to work as a team, to be creative, organised, and develop a whole load of other skills. I found myself taking on a leadership role. I had never thought of myself as a natural leader, but I became one.

“After the programme, I secured an apprenticeship with Canterbury College”

Straight after the programme, I secured an apprenticeship with Canterbury College, and benefitted from work placements at Burger Brothers in Whitstable and in the kitchen at Simon Langton Girls School. On finishing my apprenticeship, I went on to work at Whitstable restaurant, The Oxford, before moving on to take a position working in the kitchen at The Sanctuary Group’s Canterbury care home.

Now, at 23, I am currently the company’s youngest head chef in the country, and manage a team of five.

The Prince’s Trust Team Programme was a really important first step for me in identifying what I wanted to do in my career, and helping me to build valuable and relevant experience and confidence to move on in that field.

At CXK we’re proud to provide training courses, development programmes and emotional support, advice and guidance which help young people to develop the skills and confidence to take their next steps in life.

Whether you’re looking for careers advice, want to develop your confidence, are looking to improve your Maths and English skills, or aren’t in education or employment and unsure what to do next; our services can provide you with the essential skills and confidence you need to ensure you’re in the best position to move forwards. For further details on the services we offer, visit our Services page.

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