Zara Shiels

Zara Shiels

“I was always what you might call a 'hobby baker'. A work colleague had completed a course at SERC and recommended the college, so I started doing some research and found the Level 2 Professional Bakery at SERC’s Lisburn Campus. Before enrolling, I called the College and got speaking to tutor Ruth Doherty and was bowled over by her enthusiasm and passion for baking, confectionery, and patisserie - I just knew it was the course for me.”

“The practical aspect of the course is brilliant, it’s great getting hands on experience and having a chance to really improve your skills -   I am now ten times the baker I was before I came to SERC."

"This past year has been amazing especially with the additional opportunities open to students such as taking part in competitions. I competed at IFEX (International Food Exhibition) - the first time I had ever taken part in any competition. The standard was really high, and I was delighted to get a merit for my efforts in the novelty cake category. I was also a finalist in the Regional WorldSkillsUK competition."

“I also had the opportunity to travel to Valencia in Spain with fellow students from across SERC for a two-week work placement, fully funded through Erasmus+. I worked in a traditional Spanish bakery, Monday to Friday, it was fantastic just absorbing the culture, the language and everything I could to hone my baking skills. It was truly amazing.”

“Having studied at both university and college, I would say college is much more supportive. I have had so much fun and learnt so much. My tutors have been fantastic, both Ruth Doherty and Ian Thompson, as well as all the technical staff and restaurant teams. Everyone is so friendly and helpful."

 “I am so, so busy, but I am busy being happy too. I really am having my cake and eating it!”