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Joseph Peccerella came to Eastleigh College in need of supported learning and had to deal with additional difficulties when the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. Despite his challenges, Joseph stayed committed to his development and enjoyed a number of enriching work experience placements before finally landing a permanent position at DoubleTree by Hilton this summer.

Joseph’s Eastleigh College journey began in September 2016 when he completed a course in Skills for Independence and Work. This is a programme for learners with moderate learning difficulties and who want to develop their own independent living and work skills. Classes are a mixture of practical and theory work, with teachers on hand to help develop transferable skills such as communication, problem solving and teamwork.


Upon completing this course, Joseph grew in confidence and made the decision to undertake further study with an Exploring Enterprise course and a Skills for Supported Employment course. By the time he had acquired these qualifications, his skillset had grown tremendously and he was preparing to begin a Supported Internship in 2020.


However at this point the COVID-19 Pandemic hit and Joseph had to adapt to remote learning, with the aid of his job coach Lorna and support group. By the time restrictions were eventually lifted, Joseph was keen to gain workplace experience and in May 2021 he landed a placement at the Royal Victoria Country Park in Netley. Here he worked in the museum greeting visitors, which helped to advance his communication and customer service skills, as well as work with the conservation group in the wider park.

“This is an amazing achievement and it’s wonderful to see Joseph’s resilience and hard work rewarded. All of the Supported Internship team at Eastleigh College are so proud of him and we wish him continued success in the future.”

Lorna Cantwell, Joseph's Job Coach at Eastleigh College


Despite gaining a range of transferable skills in this role, Joseph’s dream had always been to work within the Hospitality and Catering industry and he began to look at other options. In September 2021 he secured a kitchen placement at the YMCA café at Fairthorne Manor, with the café manager openly impressed by Joseph’s positive attitude and work ethic. In his nine months with the YMCA, Joseph also worked at the café site in Stoneham Park, expanding his kitchen experience further still. Continued positive feedback from his manager led to an offer of a zero-hour contract.


In May 2022, Joseph felt ready to move on and applied for a position in the Catering team at DoubleTree by Hilton in Southampton. In this role, he would be responsible for front of house and waitering in a much bigger team and kitchen operation – as well as a traditional restaurant, this establishment has a lounge, bar and afternoon tea service. His prior work experience proved a valuable asset and he was offered a temporary position which became permanent after only two months.


Thanks to Joseph’s ambition and resilience, he is now settled in the industry he is passionate about and the role he always wanted.