Case Study - James Kelly

James had a lifelong dream in South Africa to become a chef

09 April 2012

Medals for Excellence 2011 winner

Qualification: Diploma in Food & Beverage Services; Diploma in Food Preparation & Culinary Arts; Diploma in Reception Operations & Services
Centre: Institute for Hospitality Education, South Africa

James, at the age of 37, was the sole breadwinner for his young family. With their backing and support he left a well-paid job working in Sales in the Rubber Industry to follow his lifelong dream and passion to become a chef. Studying three diplomas concurrently James became a full time student having to work during the weekends to support his family; the financial and emotional pressures were immense, but he endured. James overcame the challenges of returning to a classroom with students almost 20 years younger and had to get back into ‘study mode’.

He faced considerable doubt from people in the industry who felt he was too old to enter the hospitality sector for the first time but he showed great determination and perseverance. He jumped at the chance to work with industry professionals, sometimes for no remuneration just so he could gain experience and work with seasoned operators. Through his studies he has developed and maintains strong relationships to help keep in touch with industry trends, current information and best practice. His diplomas ignited his desire to keep learning all the time, and also to share his knowledge and lead others, and this was rewarded when he graduated first of his class in all programmes.

James is now working for a large catering company in a managerial role, where he can use his life learnt skills and qualifications gained at the Institute of Hospitality Education. James has also opened a take away food service kiosk that he operates every weekend. He has built up his reputation as a small business owner who can be relied upon to provide an excellent product, with a personalised and friendly service to match. His business has grown to enable him to employ a young person to earn an income, develop their skills and become self-sufficient.


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