First refugee student is one of school’s baking graduates

Hats off to all the graduates.
Hats off to all the graduates.

The first refugee student at The School Of Artisan Food on the Welbeck Estate was among those celebrating at the charity’s latest graduation day.

Ghidey Berhane came to the UK from her home country of Eritrea, only to be devastated by the death of her husband shortly after she arrived.

Ghidey Berhane (second right) with family and friends and school founder Alison Parente (right).

Ghidey Berhane (second right) with family and friends and school founder Alison Parente (right).

With the support of the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum, she was able to secure a fully funded place at the school to study for a diploma in artisan baking.

And now she has graduated from the six-month diploma, which is designed to equip students with the practical and business skills needed to launch a career in baking.

The school’s founder, Alison Parente, said: “We are delighted to see Ghidey successfully graduate and hope this will stand in her good stead for the future.

“As a charitable trust, we look forward to working in partnership with the forum to provide access to more refugees looking to re-train or learn new skills that will enable them to find meaningful employment in the UK.”

Cameron Whyte with head of business, Yvonne O'Donovan, and Neil Curtis, of the Barbara Curtis Trust.

Cameron Whyte with head of business, Yvonne O'Donovan, and Neil Curtis, of the Barbara Curtis Trust.

Ghidey’s bursary had been awarded by the Whitaker Trust, and Janey Whitaker, who attended the graduation, said: “I am so pleased that our charity was able to support Ghidey, and it was lovely to see her graduate with her brother and friends cheering her on.”

Another student with extra reason to celebrate was Cameron Whyte, who was presented with a £2,000 prize for the best artisan food business plan. It was awarded by Neil Curtis, on behalf of the Barbara Curtis Trust, a fund set up by the Lincoln-based family baking company, which also provides a bursary place every year.

Meanwhile, the school’s head of baking, Wayne Caddy, was delighted to be made a Fellow in recognition of his services and commitment to sharing his knowledge.

The graduation took place in the beautiful Titchfield Library at Welbeck Abbey. The guest speaker was Ian Waterland, a guest tutor and a former graduate himself.

Head of baking Wayne Caddy is delighted to be made a Fellow.

Head of baking Wayne Caddy is delighted to be made a Fellow.

Ian said: “The diploma is great because it gives you the scientific underpinning theory of baking, combined with lots of hands-on practice. You need both to bake good bread.”