From education to employment

Food for thought as mother and son caterers develop their skills at Borders College

Shirley and Ryan

A mother and her son are both reaping the benefits of studying at Borders College (@BordersCollege), helping to further develop their skills in the catering sector.

53-year-old Shirley Boylan from Selkirk trained as a chef and worked in the private industry for most of her career, before taking up a management role as the Deputy Catering Manager at NHS Borders.

This led to her studying management and in February 2020 she completed the Team Leadership in Management level 7 with the College. Deciding to enhance her skill set further, Shirley enrolled on the Management level 7 qualification, which she is currently undertaking.

Shirley’s son Ryan, who is 17 and lives with his parents in Selkirk, grew up with both his mum and dad working in the catering industry so it was no surprise that he decided to follow in their footsteps and begin studying on the Professional Cookery SCQF NPA Level 4 programme at Borders College, where he is one year into his studies. Ryan will continue this September, studying NC Professional Cookery and NPA Hospitality Level 5.

Shirley has a wealth of experience in the industry, having worked in top restaurants such as Cameron House in Loch Lomond, The Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh and also as Head Chef at The Woll Golf Club in Ashkirk.

Both she and her husband Gerard have worked in 5-star restaurants throughout their careers and were delighted that Ryan decided to take the same career path. Shirley commented:

“Ryan has always had a passion for cooking since a young age. We have spent many hours in the kitchen showing him the techniques we have learned over the years so it’s great that he has that head start in his career. He is thoroughly enjoying his first year at College.”

Within her role at NHS Borders, Shirley’s team of 170 staff are responsible for providing meals to the Borders General Hospital and the Community hospitals in Hawick and Kelso, as well as other private sector areas.

Talking about her time studying Management and how this has benefitted her career, she added:

“It is very important to constantly develop and improve your skills with Borders College. It has been possible for me to work, alongside studying that best fits me, to give me a recognised management qualification. I’m in a very rewarding job within the Catering team at NHS Borders. A future career path supported within NHS Borders and opportunities to build on my management qualification levels through Borders College is what I strive towards.“

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