IT’S a little over a year since Dawn Cumming enrolled in an Access to HNC Hospitality course at New College Lanarkshire that would allow her to make a big career change. And since making the leap, Dawn has proved herself to be one of the best and most-promising hospitality students in the UK.

In November 2016, she won a bronze medal in Restaurant Service at the prestigious WorldSkills UK trade skills contest at the NEC in Birmingham, triumphing over students drawn from colleges all over Britain. Now a student of HNC Hospitality at the College’s Motherwell Campus, Dawn said: “Competing at WorldSkills UK was probably the most terrifying thing that I have ever done in my whole life, but it was so rewarding. I was gobsmacked to win a bronze medal because I’m so new to it all.

“We were asked to do everything: fine dining, a Champagne afternoon tea, wine recognition, napkin folding, table boxing, carving duck at the table, flambéing Steak Diane and Crêpes Suzette.”

The 50-year-old from Cumbernauld previously worked in the care sector with people with alcohol and drug misuse problems.

“It was a very stressful job, mentally really stressful, and I’d had enough. When I left, I took the first job that I could find, which was housekeeping. Within days I realised that hotel work was for me. I applied for the course and I got on it. I’m really enjoying my course – it’s really interesting, although it’s hard work.

I left college 30 years ago and it’s been hard going back into studying again. But what I’ve learned is phenomenal and most importantly that I can do it. I would like to go into food and beverage management when I complete my studies. Somewhere nice! We’ve done a bit of cookery as part of the course, but it’s front of house that I’m interested in. I didn’t think of myself as being a people person, but it turns out that I am! I do have a little bit of OCD about me and I do like things in their place. I’ve spoken to other people who have said they’re bored and sick of their job and I keep saying them to go to college and do something different.”

 

 

“I left college 30 years ago and it’s been hard going back into studying again. But what I’ve learned is phenomenal and most importantly that I can do it."

Inspired by Dawn's story? Why not take a look at the range of Hospitality and Professional Cookery courses we offer!