Mark’s story

Mark had been unemployed for several months before he took part in Galvin’s Chance. Mark is visually impaired and in his previous jobs he often lacked the support that he needed to succeed. After losing his most recent job, Mark visited his local Job Centre where they suggested Galvin’s Chance.

Since childhood, Mark had always enjoyed cooking and baking and has been interested in working in a kitchen but had not yet done so. When the Job Centre explained that the hospitality training programme included industry visits to professional kitchens, Mark knew straight away that he wanted to take part.

Along with 12 other young people selected at the recruitment day, Mark embarked on three weeks of hospitality training, industry visits and mentoring in February 2018. Mark particularly enjoyed the hotel and restaurant visits. Keen to learn as much as possible, Mark always asked the chefs lots of questions. His favourite training session was at Eight Over Eight restaurant where he was able to experience both the kitchen and bar and learn to make mocktails.

During the three weeks, Mark enjoyed meeting the other Galvin’s Chance candidates. Together they shared their experiences and passion and supported each other through their placements. He also developed a strong relationship with Tony, the programme manager, who has continued to provide valuable support throughout the programme.

The group’s day at the Royal Lancaster Hotel was a pivotal visit. As well as taking part in a CV workshop and a tour of the hotel, the candidates worked in the kitchens to support food prep and plating for an event. This hands-on, real life opportunity led Mark to identify the Royal Lancaster as the hotel he wanted to do his two week placement.

The HR team at the Royal Lancaster Hotel remembered Mark’s enthusiasm to learn about the kitchens and his questions for the chefs, and immediately agreed to a two week placement for Mark.

Mark spent his first week in the main kitchen and then the second in the staff canteen. This allowed Mark to experience how different kitchens operate and to learn from different chefs. The opportunity confirmed that he wanted to become a chef.

After impressing the chefs and hotel, Mark was offered a casual contract with the Royal Lancaster where he now works in the kitchens. He assists with breakfast preparation, room service orders and mise en place, and is able to learn from the large team of chefs.

Mark really enjoys working with many different team members in the hotel. Initially Mark found the fast paced kitchen and large volume of orders challenging but with support and guidance from his team, he is learning to work more efficiently and improve his time management.

Mark hopes to next start cooking in the kitchens as he progresses in his career towards his dream role, a pastry chef.