Recipe for success as students learn to cook

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Amy Kenna and John Birchall both attend the learning centre. pic © Angelica Day JMU Journalism

A cookery school which accommodates adults with learning difficulties and disabilities has demonstrated the importance of giving everyone and anyone a chance to get into employment.

StedyChefs Learning Centre provides opportunities of all kinds with the aim of to empowering students to be able to find jobs, providing them with knowledge within hospitality, as well as providing ongoing fun learning for further independent living.

The centre’s base is Kirkby Service Centre in Longmoor Lane, Fazakerley, but students come from all areas within the city. They provide visitors with the opportunity to work in a professional kitchen where they wear a full uniform and learn to cook nutritious foods.

Operations Manager, Joanne Smith, 34, of Walton, told JMU Journalism: “We want to encourage our students to be able to go further into employment. With our different courses, we are all about making sure our aims are heard.

“A lot of our students will go on to live by themselves as most of them are currently either with a carer or living with their parents. The aim is for them to eventually live in their own flats or houses, that is why we want to teach them how to make food from scratch so that they will be able to cook food that will have nutritional value to them.”

YouTube: Angelica Day

According to the House of Commons library, people with disabilities have an employment rate 30.4% points lower than people without them in April-June 2018, making 368,000 people with disabilities of working age unemployed.

Joanne added: “For a lot of employers, their biggest worry is changing the insurance to be able to recruit people with disabilities, which is often not the case. A lot of the time they are able to go in the same environment and work fine. They just need to be given a chance and a bit more time. On a CV they should look beyond the disability and look more at the skills.”

Most of the students were transferred from another provision after their funding got cut. The agency was found by parents after they opened up a cookery school.

Amy Kenna, 30, from Knowsley said: “My favourite part about being here is baking cakes. I enjoy making them with everyone as a team and if I could get any job I would love to become a baker. My fiancé John is also a part of this course. We have been engaged for 10 years now.”