Education has been affected dramatically by the lockdown due to the pandemic, yet Harry who is supported by New Directions has adapted to a new way of learning and is thriving in his studies. Harry is in his first year of his Diploma Level 1 Professional Cookery course at Rugby College. He is using his studies to cook for himself from scratch, learning about nutrition and how to create recipes and menus for himself from his new knowledge and experience. Harry usually learns his craft in a professional kitchen and front of house at the college, this component is now on hold. Harry lives in his supported living flat where his skills have helped him to live more independently and he plans for a future which includes employment.

Harry is passionate about food, cooking and while at college he enjoyed his kitchen and front of house experience at the college’s own restaurant in Technology Drive. There he would often work in pairs to make wholesome meals such as lasagne, cottage pie, pasta dishes for himself or customers. Now Harry’s practical cooking is done at home. His research on aspects such as gluten free menus and allergies, cookery theory, English and mathematics study is now taking place online. Harry also attends his lectures through video calls on Google Hangout. As a student, Harry has embraced the new-normal and despite it being a challenge he is enthusiastic and shares his journey with his friends and staff at New Directions through the charity’s closed Facebook group. He is proud of his chef’s uniform with its black trouser, jacket with button down front and steel toe-capped shoes. Having the right equipment such as his chef’s knives has made all the difference to his professional approach. His ability to cook has meant that he can invite others in his household to his flat for home-cooked meals and he has been experimenting with more complex recipes such as beef wellington at home too.

I was meant to go back to college this year, but I know that the cases of Covid are rising and that we are in lockdown until February at least. It is harder to study from home as I miss the environment, getting out and socialising. I am getting used to video calls though and doing my practical with support at home. I have always been interested in cooking and got my City and Guilds Level 1 in Leamington. When the Rugby course came up it was perfect timing as I don’t need to travel as far. It is the best course I have ever done. I finish in July 2021 and am wondering how we will do our exams now. Living in my flat at New Directions is great because I have friends of my own age. The great thing about cooking at college is that now I very rarely eat microwave meals.

Harry

Tenant, New Directions Rugby Ltd