LIKE many tradesmen during the economic downturn Dundrum man Paddy McAuley, a self-employed bricklayer, found himself out of work, with the construction industry one of the worst hit.
A skilled tradesman with twenty years’ experience, Paddy was at a low ebb. He was a man who had been used to early starts, long days and hard work he found it hard adjusting to a life lacking routine and stimulation provided by regular work.
In a bid to put structure back into his life and to earn some money Paddy got a job in the Burrendale Hotel as a dishwasher, it was a far cry from the building site but nonetheless Paddy enjoyed being back at work. It was here he met Ciaran Sansome, the Head Chef for the Burrendale Hotel. Ciaran was impressed by Paddy’s work-ethic and positive attitude and offered him a job as Preparation Chef.
Reinvigorated by his new job, Paddy enjoyed it so much that he decided to pursue a career in professional cookery and took the big decision to return to education and enrolled on a Level 2 Professional Cookery qualification at South Eastern Regional College (SERC) in September 2010.
Paddy said, “As a bricklayer of twenty years, it was very difficult for me when the work dried up. I was not used to being out of work and missed the routine it provided. I suppose I stumbled into a new career in the hospitality industry, but I am very happy that I have been able to turn my hand to another trade. It was a big step returning to college and it had been a long-time since I had studied. But my tutor Michelle McCarthy has been fantastic and really helped me settle back into the classroom environment.”
Ten months on and Paddy has successfully completed his Level 2 qualification and is progressing to Level 3 in September. He has also been promoted to Starter Chef in the Burrendale and was part of the team that won the Taste of Ulster Award.
Thoroughly enjoying his new career and return education Paddy added, “The difference in my life is amazing, not only have I embarked on a new career but I have also met some wonderful people. Michelle McCarthy and Ciaran Sansome have been truly inspiring, food is a passion and they both share that passion. I feel lucky to have met these people, under there guidance I look forward to gaining further qualifications and more experience within the hospitality industry. I would encourage anyone who is thinking of a new career to go for it, it’s never too late.”