Stokesley apprentice toasts funding boost for studies
A Stokesley teenager keen to further her career in the hospitality sector has become the first apprentice to receive a prestigious educational grant.
The Preston Trust, based in Stokesley, is providing financial support for Meghan Wilson who is currently part of the front of house team at Howard’s in the town and is studying for her level 2 hospitality apprenticeship at Middlesbrough College.
Meghan has been working at the family-run bistro since August 2016 where managers noticed the 16-year-old’s potential and offered to support her studies whilst she works full-time.
The new funding from the Preston Trust will help Meghan progress further with her studies at Middlesbrough College in courses including food hygiene and first aid. Meghan also hopes to progress to her level 3 hospitality apprenticeship and to become the youngest person in the country to obtain a personal licence for serving alcohol.
The Preston Educational Foundation is one of Stokesley’s oldest educational support groups providing financial support towards to young people in higher education or vocational training. The charity has now started to offer support for extra training and apprenticeships for the first time in its history in response to a change in demand in the educational marketplace.
The group was founded in the mid-1900s and used funds invested from the sale of the old Preston Grammar School, formerly on College Square in Stokesley close to where Howard’s stands today. The school itself was originally established in the early 1900s to provide education for the town’s poor boys.
As part of her skills development, Meghan is also training alongside Howards’ well-known manager, Peter Holligon, who has worked at the bistro since it opened in 2008 having been in the industry working at a range of hotels and restaurants for over 30 years.
Meghan, who attended Stokesley School, is training on site at Howard’s supported by Middlesbrough College in a variety of areas including hygiene, health and safety, team work and customer service.
Meghan said: “I have lots of plans to further my studies and I am really keen to try to get my personal licence- making me the youngest person in the country to obtain one. I am really enjoying working at Howard’s and want to build a career in the hospitality sector. I know it’s quite competitive so, to give me the best chance, I want to obtain the best qualifications I can. I am really grateful to the Preston Trust for agreeing to support my studies as it’s a fantastic opportunity for me to progress further.”
Owner of Howard’s, Graham Howard, said: “We’re passionate about providing young people from our area with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience. Where we can, we always try to support them in their training and development and Meghan is the perfect example. She’s a real asset to the team and our customers love her so we are delighted that she has secured further funding to progress her studies.”
Howard’s employs a team of 15 local people and works with local schools and colleges to provide a range of apprenticeship opportunities for young people.