From education to employment

Spanish exchange students cook up tasty dishes at Michelin-star chef @jc_Novelli led restaurant

South Eastern Regional College (SERC) has recently played host to two Spanish students as part of an international placement programme funded by Erasmus+.

Patricia Quintano Gutierrez and Carles Ramos Guillen, aged 18 from FEGREPPA College, a specialist bakery and patisserie college based in Valencia, Spain, had the unique opportunity to come to Northern Ireland and experience a new culture, try new cuisine and experience life at Novelli at City Quays, the 120-seater restaurant in the new AC Hotel Belfast.

Over the course of their 10-week work placement, the students got the opportunity to work with Novelli at City Quays Executive Head Chef Jim Mulholland. The duo prepared pastries and desserts as well as experiencing life in a flagship kitchen and the production of a very varied menu.

SERC International Studies Manager Sharon Browne explains: “The aim of the exchange project was to provide opportunities for the students to develop professional skills and English language proficiency, as well as increase the students understanding and tolerance of other cultures.”

Sharon went on to explain the programme further, “Over the course of their placement, the students got the opportunity to experience amazing new insights, from learning a new culture, cuisine and language, to making new friends from diverse ethnic and national backgrounds.”

Novelli at City Quays Executive Head Chef Jim Mullholland has been working with SERC for twelve years to help train the next generation of chefs with the restaurant currently employing three apprentices from SERC.

Feedback has been very positive with Jim saying that he was ‘very impressed’ with both the skills set of the students and their work ethic.

SERC developed the partnership with FEGREPPA to exchange students over the next two years through Erasmus+, the EU programme for education, training, youth and sport supported by the European Commission. This visit is just one in a series of work placement programmes, which will see SERC students completing work placements in countries across Europe.

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