Raginee Scudamore arrived in the UK from Mauritius nearly 30 years ago. Having taken a long career break to raise a family, Raginee started working as a food service assistant for the Catering Department at the University of Buckingham in 2016.
She recently completed a Level 2 Commis Chef Apprenticeship with MK College at the age of 52. She has also been shortlisted in this year’s BAME Apprenticeship Awards, and now tells us about her experience in her own words.
I remember the exhilaration and excitement of the first day, sat in my car in the college car park – the moment of no return. I felt anxious, nervous and full of anticipation all at the same time. I thought I was too old for this, but I took control of my emotions and told myself ‘there is no turning back’ and I must follow my dreams.
My new life began like a tornado. I attended college once a week while working full-time, including some evenings and weekends. There was plenty of challenging coursework to keep me busy and of course my family to think of too. I embraced the challenge and felt hungry to complete it to the best of my ability.
The best aspects of my apprenticeship were meeting new people, helping the young apprentices when they were at their lowest moments, learning new skills and recipes, and conquering my fear of maths. I enjoyed trips to hospitality venues, such as Borough Market, Billingsgate Market, Corinthia and The Ritz Hotel in London. It was all exciting and inspirational and made me realise how much I wanted to be the very best chef I could be. My week of work experience at The Ritz was the best thing I have ever done in my life.
It was obvious right from the start that I was so much older than the rest the rest of the group and that felt like a huge disadvantage. As soon as I met my tutor Tony Oxley, I felt completely at ease as he welcomed me as a mature student, embraced my BAME background and made me feel like I was part of the team. I was made to feel very welcome and after a while I completely forgot about the age barrier.
It is a great honour to have been shortlisted for a BAME Apprenticeship Award. I am delighted to be an ambassador to others thinking about applying for an apprenticeship, and demonstrate that regardless of age, gender or race, you can start or change a career at any time. It is also hugely rewarding and has made the journey worthwhile to get me where I am today at the age of 52.
It is never too late to do an apprenticeship and achieve your goal – go for it.