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Two pictures of chef Henry Oakes, one he is stirring a pan in a kitchen and the other he is stood on the steps of Castle/University College

A Durham resident who first joined our hospitality team aged just 16 is now a qualified chef helping cook around 900 meals per day. 

Henry Oakes, now 21, joined the University as a part-time, front-of-house assistant at Hatfield College aged 16.  

During this time, he started a business course at New College Durham, but after two years of study he realised that catering was his calling.  

He switched courses and joined a Government-backed catering apprenticeship scheme that matches employers like our University with suitable apprentices.  

The apprenticeship involved Henry working in the kitchens of our University College four days a week.  

He also attended New College one day per week as he learned the necessary skills to become a production chef.  

Success story 

All his hard work paid off as this summer Henry qualified as a Level 2 Production Chef, certified by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.  

Henry continues to work as a chef at University College where he helps serve around 300 student meals at each daily sitting of breakfast, lunch and tea-time.  

He said he is happy to continue working at Durham and is interested in learning catering management skills to further progress his career. 

 Find out more