Louise Slee

Current employer: Marina Academy Plymouth; CornishPod

Current job title: Cookery and Hospitality Teacher; Owner of the Cornishpod

Current location: Plymouth; Cornwall

“I would definitely recommend Plymouth University... I found the support was excellent throughout my undergraduate degree.”

Tell us about your career path since graduation.

Since I graduated from Plymouth University's School of Tourism and Hospitality, I have completed a PGCE (also at Plymouth University, delivered by Cornwall College).

Has your degree helped/influenced your career path?

Definitely. With food technology being off the national curriculum at the time I chose to study, and as my long term goal was to become a cookery teacher, I took a very unique route to qualifying. I am only now completing a formation process to teach in a secondary school. I have been able to take a wide range of life experience into the classroom, as well as rely on my academic achievements.

Has your career path changed since graduation?

I had intended to stay in further education; however, I am now in a great school that is enthusiastic about the delivery of vocational subjects, which I totally support. I can see students gaining not just knowledge but essential work and communication skills every day in my current workplace.

What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?

Completing the years of study that I did not start until the age of 40! Also, trying to juggle studying, working, and looking after my family. Since launching the CornishPod, I guess not having enough days and hours in the week are proving a challenge.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

Winning the World Open Savoury Pasty competition 2016 is the most exciting and fun thing that I have achieved so far. Only a week after winning, doors are opening for us with the CornishPod.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could?

I would really like to find a balance between teaching and the CornishPod. I enjoy both career paths and put my all into them.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

Make sure that you have a great plan in place, buy the best equipment that you can, and get your branding and marketing right from day one.  

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

Studying at Plymouth meant that I could still live at home with my family. I also researched the local food scene for my dissertation, focusing on celebrity chefs, which gave me an insight into the local economy and, of course, contacts in the catering industry.

What lessons/skills did you gain from your course?

I use my research skills all the time just for simple things, but I also use them for business information which, if I had to seek expert advice, would be costly.

What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?

Although petrified of heights, I abseiled from a tower whilst on a leadership module at Skerne Lodge. This is something I will never forget… I think they say 'I took one for the team.' The team were all an average age of twenty; however, I remain friends with all of them on social media.

Do you stay in touch with other Plymouth University alumni or lecturers?

Yes, I stay in contact with a lot of my cohort via Facebook. I am in contact with the School of Tourism and Hospitality through Wai Mun Lim, and I recently delivered a presentation on street food from the CornishPod.

Would you recommend undertaking a course with Plymouth University, and why?

I would definitely recommend Plymouth University. I started at City College Plymouth, where I am great friends with some of the lecturers to this day. I found the support was excellent throughout my undergraduate degree and of course Cornwall College during my PGCE.

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Matt Kemp BSc (Hons) Cruise Management