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Having grown up with parents who own a Catering company, Carmen knew she wanted to work in the Hospitality industry since a young age. She studied both Food Technology and Food & Nutrition at GCSE, before progressing onto Level 1 Catering at Eastleigh College. Since then, she has studied Level 2 Professional Catering and Level 3 Food and Beverage Supervision.

Outside of College, Carmen works part-time at Occasions Catering where she is Head Chef once a week. She secured the position through her parents, but is thrilled to have come so far at such an early stage in her career. She said, “It’s so much fun, sometimes I think I’ve made it already – I’ve come from Level 1 to running my own kitchen. And now I’m not just hired because of my parents, I’m hired because I’m qualified.”

Carmen chose to focus on hospitality for her Level 3 qualification to try and maximise her employability. She thought that, with high-level qualifications in both kitchen and front-of-house, she would be able to maximise her transferrable skills.


Throughout her studies at Eastleigh College Carmen has taken part in multiple work experience placements, including the Holiday Inn takeover where she has assumed the roles of Events Team Member, Hotel Reception Team Leader and Operations Manager across the three years. She also recently achieved a Bronze award for table laying, napkin folding and wine recommendation at the Hospitality and Catering Show.

To complement this, Carmen also completed a work experience placement at Hotel Du Vin, where she did two weeks’ front of house and bar training. This exposed her to a real restaurant environment, completely different from the event-based hospitality she experiences at her part-time job.

Carmen’s favourite thing about Eastleigh College is the facilities. She said, “Because the facilities here are so good, you know what a real kitchen is going to look like and how it’s going to run. Also because we have a fully licensed bar, you can actually make the drinks rather than just pretend.”

My advice would be to use the Lecturers to help you find your niche, and take advantage of their knowledge and skills to help you get ahead.


Carmen believes she really thrives under pressure, and one of the things she’s best at is anticipating customers’ needs and acting on her initiative. She hopes to work in the events industry in the future, perhaps even in a mixology role.

To find out more about the range of Catering and Hospitality courses at Eastleigh College, visit our careers page or call our Information, Advice and Guidance team on 023 8091 1299.


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