Gretchen Winter owner of Jack and Maddie which runs classes and events at The Farm Cookery School pledged to support Schools through Be Involved in January 2020, we caught up with her to find out what she has been doing locally and what else she plans to do to support Schools careers activities in the future.

Classes and events available at The Farm Cookery School range from Adult Global Flavours and Masterclasses, Children’s Holiday Clubs and Saturday Chefs classes for Years 7+ as well as Parent & Child sessions, Date Nights and Team Building Events. Their Education team also run classes and workshops in local schools and have just launched their All Together Alternative Provision classes which will take place in the Cookery School.

Can you tell us what activities you’ve been involved in with Wiltshire Schools?

We have hosted a couple of work placements with Wiltshire College and All Cannings and are looking forward to working with Kingsbury Green Academy. We also worked with a college student who was undertaking a marketing course. I was due to take part in an assembly at Kingsbury Green talking to students about setting up your own business and what it is like working in catering – as I have covered most aspects of the catering industry throughout my career. This has been rearranged for October 2020 and I should also be attending Priestly Primary School in Calne too for their Careers Fair.

I have been lucky enough to work with Abbeyfield School Year 7 students, we were successful in gaining grant money from the Chippenham Local Youth Network. We worked with the students using this grant money to put on a ‘Power of Food’ cooking session with students who benefit greatly from working in a different way, the School gave great feedback, it really helps develop their skills and communication with adults.

Why do you feel it is important to give back in this way?

You are seeing the difference you can make, we obviously teach in a different way from traditional schooling and are able to see how the young people blossom. Working in smaller groups helps to get the best out of them and they are gaining real life experiences rather than sitting in classroom. For example the young boy who came to us for work experience (who was completing his GCSE’s) went onto work in a pub kitchen as he was inspired by catering. Also, as an employer it is important for me to see how others are motivated and which ways of working can work best for my employees and the business.

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