Cafe experience helping James turn dough into dough

James Firth
James Firth

A Rotherham College student has turned vocational work into the start of a potential career in catering

James Firth got a slice of action when he got a part-time job in January at Firstop, an Italian take-away based in Dinnington, while undertaking a foundation course at the college.

And he found he was already on a roll by impressing his employer with his knowledge of health and safety and food hygiene that he’d learned through his work in the college’s cafe during his course.

After finishing at Dinnington High School he wanted to try something new, meet some new people and gain employability skills.

Starting on the animal care pathway, he tried catering for his work preparation part of the course and enjoyed it.

James currently also works in the Café @ the Heart based at the college’s Dinnington campus for two days a week.

And the skills he has learned in the campus cafe have paid dividends with his new role at Firstop.

The campus café, which recently received another five-star hygiene rating, serves beverages and a delicious selection of treats throughout the day for both staff, students and the public.

Throughout his course he has made lots of friends and gained confidence and increased his independency.

James has been studying for four years and intends to do a level three entry course in animal care or horticulture in the next year or possibly gain full-time employment at Firstop.

The foundation course is filled with trips to enrich the students’ experience and have some fun.

The profits from the café @ the Heart contribute to the funding.

During his course James has taken part in many trips, from sampling Christmas meals at various local restaurants, to regular trips to Meadowhall and Centretainment.

There have also been trips further afield to places like Cleethorpes, Drayton Manor and Sherwood Forest.

James said, “My favourite thing about my course was meeting new friends and gaining confidence in everything.

“It’s hard to believe but I was really shy when I started, before this I wouldn’t have gone up the street by myself.

“This has really helped with my people skills and I’ve got a job now because of it.

“It’s helped me get a lot more freedom and everyone treats you like an adult.”

For more information about the college’s foundation courses, call 01709 722777 or visit the website at

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