A Dundee chef has opened his door to local youths as part of a drive to improve the life skills of children in foster care.
Daniel Inglis, Head Chef at Balhousie St Ronans nursing home, is sharing his catering expertise in a series of hands-on learning sessions at the elderly care home, which is hosting the six-week programme in collaboration with Swiis Foster Care in Dundee.
Balhousie St Ronans is donating its premises for the weekly sessions, which cover everything from budgeting to writing CVs. The participants, who range in age from 15 to 20, then spend time with Chef Daniel in the city centre care home’s kitchen.
As the group gathered at St. Ronan’s during Scottish Apprenticeship Week, Home Manager Denise McCorkindale praised Daniel for devoting his own time to mentoring. “He is known for matching a busy work schedule with extra-curricular mentoring to young people, staying beyond his work hours to teach. The foster care youths have such respect for him, and Daniel is to be commended for his hard work,” she said.
Daniel said: “Last year we took on an apprentice following a successful work experience placement. James, 16, was having difficulty gaining kitchen experience because of his age. That led to this current collaboration with Swiis Foster Care Scotland. It’s great seeing them develop and it’s important for them to see that in a care home the potential for learning is fantastic.”
He added: “I don’t teach people for credit or thanks, I do it because I love passing on what other chefs have taught me over the years. In catering there is no better feeling. This group is doing just great; I’m really impressed with their enthusiasm. Two of them are already interested in catering as a career.”
Kris McLaren, Resource Worker with Swiis Foster Care Scotland, said: “This initiative is part of a life skills group for young people in our care who will be eventually moving into their own accommodation. The aim is to give them an insight into independent living and to help them prepare for their future. With the support of a number of external agencies, cooking, budgeting, housing and mental health are included in the programme and due to the immense generosity of both Denise, Daniel and Balhousie Care Group, we have an ideal venue where we can deliver this from one location.”
Kris added: “Our relationship with Balhousie has already seen a successful transition from school to a career for one of our young people, James. We hope that this partnership continues and thank Balhousie group for being so accommodating and opening their doors to us.”
Apprenticeships play an important role in Balhousie Care Group’s corporate agenda. Denise McCorkindale said: “Our care homes are as much a part of the community as they are homes for our residents. That’s why it’s important to us to invite in local youths to soak up the experience of working in a care home and providing the services we do.”
Jill Kerr, Group Chief Executive Officer at Balhousie Care Group, said:
“We see it as our duty as an employer to provide opportunities for our local youth, and this collaboration with Swiis Foster Care Scotland is valuable for the participants and for us. Apprenticeships and work-based learning play an increasingly important role for our youth and our workforce and we’re proud to be involved with them.”