Man aged 60 takes apprenticeship through East Riding College


At the age of 60, Valeriano Doncel has proven that apprenticeships are not just for young people.

After more than 40 years working as a chef in kitchens in Spain and England, the Humber NHS Foundation Trust employee has shown that the training courses are ideal for people of all ages.

Val, who has worked for the trust for nearly three years and is currently serving residents at its Green Trees site in Willerby, said he took on the apprenticeship through East Riding College to prove what he can do in the kitchen.

He said: “I have gained experience that I didn’t have before. I have never been to college and I saw this as a challenge.
“I can now say I have proven myself as a chef.”

He added: “Apprenticeships are appropriate for people of any age. If I could have done this when I was 16, I would have been so happy.
“I’m so grateful to everyone who has done this for me – you’re never too old!”

As part of the apprenticeship, Val worked towards a Level Two NVQ in Food Production and Cooking to cover both the practical and theory elements, a separate course to test his knowledge and further courses in literacy and numeracy. All of the apprenticeship was delivered in the workplace while he was at work.

Tutor Debbie Pooley, who worked with Val on all aspects of his qualifications, said: “Val was really keen because, although he has been catering for many years, he has never been given the chance to earn a qualification which would demonstrate his skills and knowledge. From the moment Val started his apprenticeship he demonstrated both enthusiasm and commitment and his story is proof that apprenticeships are ideal for people of any age, not only young people.”

Angela Chowanski, one of the trust’s area supervisors for hotel services, said: “Apprenticeships are an excellent way forward as the training is structured around our staff development needs and concentrates on the needs of the services we provide through our department. 

“I do encourage the staff to take up training and development with East Riding College and the Trust’s learning centre for both the apprenticeships and the NVQ only route, as this is essential in ensuring that the work force are both skilled and competent, but it is also a good opportunity for the staff to receive additional training and receive recognition for their current skills too.”

Apprenticeships are available in more than 200 subjects, from accountancy to warehousing. For more information, go to www.eastridingcollege/apprenticeships