Amanda Taylor, Catering Trainer for Novus at HMP Garth, joined the organisation in 2015 after seven years of working with children and young people with learning difficulties and disabilities.
In her current role she works with learners in the NVQ Training Kitchen at the prison, with those on the course working towards a Level 1 in Food Preparation and Cooking, and a Level 2 diploma in Professional Cookery.
Since joining Novus, Amanda has set up a number of competitions for learners to take part in, including a spin on the hit television show MasterChef, which sees participants prepare and cook a dish which is then judged on presentation and taste by senior figures in the Education department and prison kitchen. The winner receives a new cookery book.
Amanda has worked closely with prison staff to provide a barbecue on a staff wellbeing day, which helped the prison to raise money for its designated charity, Derian House.
Amanda’s latest project is now under way – a joint venture in social enterprise with Novus and HMPS. This includes taking over the staff canteen to form a newly-renovated bistro which offers quality services and products. It is also a joint venture in running food and drinks service offered to learners and their visitors.
Her experience of working in a prison environment had a positive effect on her teaching skills and abilities, in that she can see how her teaching methods can adapt to suit the environment she is in. It has provided her with more opportunities for increased personal development.
Amanda sets the standard and has high expectations of her learners, encouraging group and team work and promoting a community of positive change within the prison.