Cooking up a recipe for success - October 2021

Cooking up a recipe for success - October 2021

Almost two decades after completing her A-levels, 38 year old Emma Gregg has returned to Suffolk New College to pursue an Australian dream. In the first of a regular series talking about her journey called ‘cooking up a recipe for success’ – Emma tells all........

Like many, the pandemic forced me to stop what I was doing and retreat home. Having this circuit breaker applied to my life’s trajectory made me take stock of how things were going and reflect on what I wanted to achieve.

I decided that going forward I wanted to travel and work. Having studied journalism at university, I had visited some interesting locations as a result including Mongolia, but had then put travelling and journalism to one side while I pursued other interests. One of those interests was food. I had always worked with food throughout my studies, eventually setting up a festival food stall. However the pandemic changed everything. I had moved back home to be with family just before the pandemic hit and suddenly found myself unemployed, unable to trade at festivals, and having to claim benefits for the first time in my life.

I started to think about what I could do as a job that could facilitate travelling and earning once the world opened back up. A friend of mine lives in Australia and my sister lives in America. At the age of 38, I am over the age threshold where you can work casually in these countries, so now have to meet the requirements for skilled entry. I looked at what occupations were on the list and journalism was there, but so were chef roles, including cook, baker and pastry chef. Australia requires the equivalent of an NVQ level 3. I focused my attention on courses being offered at Suffolk New College as I had gained my A-levels there so knew the standard of teaching would be high. I settled on the Patisserie and Confectionery course, as I felt I could use that to travel but then eventually build another business if I wanted to back here in the UK.

I applied for an Advanced Learner Loan to fund my course and for a bursary through the college to buy the equipment I needed. I also work part-time in a restaurant. Having started in September, I have already learned so much and am now excited about my future as a result.

Emma Gregg
Instagram: @happyplacepatisserie