A carer from East Ayrshire has taken her first step towards a future in the hospitality sector thanks to two national charities.
Courtney Taylor, 20, took up a two day scholarship at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow through HIT Scotland’s scholarship programme. HIT Scotland decided to pilot the programme with young carers through Shared Care Scotland’s Respitality project.
Respitality, now in its fifth year, provides unpaid carers with a short break from routine by working closely with the hospitality, leisure and tourism sector who donate free of charge breaks to the project. So far Respitality has enabled 2,156 carers and 1,745 companions to access a short break, with donations estimated to be in the region of £177,314.
David Cochrane, Chief Executive of HIT Scotland explained, “Our industry is a very inclusive one and after talking it over with Shared Care Scotland, we knew we wanted to further support those within the industry with their wellbeing and Respitality gave us the opportunity to do this.”
Courtney is one an estimated 27,000 young carers in Scotland. She has cared for her mother since she was 8 years old, including helping out with her siblings and being in charge of household duties because of her mother’s health.
She receives support from East Ayrshire Carers Centre through their employability project – when they told her of a scholarship opportunity that would help her work towards her dreams of a career in catering, she jumped at the chance.
Courtney is currently studying catering at college and wanted to learn more about the different styles of plating up food for service and gain experience in cooking, as well as working in a fast paced environment. Her two-day scholarship at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow saw her learning from Executive Chef Zoltan Szabo.
Courtney said, “I only ever seem to get bad news and there are constantly issues that I need to deal with. I was shocked but delighted to hear that I was being offered this opportunity.
“I was so nervous on my first day. I felt like I didn’t belong somewhere like that, but the team at the hotel all looked out for me. By my second day, I just felt like one of the team and I could see myself working somewhere like the Grand Central Hotel. The scholarship has given me so much confidence. Zoltan even told me I have real potential and that he would like to employ me once I finish college. This has energised me so much!”
Both HIT Scotland and Respitality hope to continue to incorporate this unique opportunity to carers across Scotland within the current scholarship programme timeline that HIT Scotland operate.