Pros: Close to the town centre & train station, Chefs with experience, Decent Proffesional Kitchen & Resturant, Placements for all ages, Apprenticeships
Cons: Benefits School Leavers more than over 18s, Limited classes avaliable for over 18s
I was studying cooking at Bolton College, Deane Road Campus for almost a year and a half and i think it's an alright college, nice facilities and plenty places to sit, the facilities for learning cooking is decent although they are limited with equipment and ingredients, they have a small professional kitchen and a more domestic style kitchen up on the second floor (both i studied in). While studying there though you have to make the food for the Signature Restaurant connected to the professional kitchen (then serve it to lecturers and students at the serving station), or for the Infusion Coffee Bar & the Diversity Cafeteria in the Domestic Kitchen. I guess it's like learning on the job.
Since last year (2013) they no longer use the Professional Kitchen for lower level classes so you will more than likely be put in a class for mixed ages in the Domestic Kitchen, it's not as good as the Professional Kitchen with less space and equipment but it's adequate enough for people just going into learning how to cook. You will learn from Entry Level 3 but the college opens up more learning options at the college for only 18s and under, over 18s though cannot progress further in terms of courses but you can however gain an apprenticeship opportunity. Most Adult Learners are doing NVQ Apprenticeships to higher their education and to also be able to get into work, so learning at the college is fine for a start-up for over 18s. All students benefit from an 8 week (7 week as the first week is just the introduction), placement which is set up by Janet Devereux the Placement Officer, i had a placement at De Vere Whites, Hotel Venues as a Waitress, i got 6 weeks however as i was off the the flue, the places are limited though so choose wisely.
After over 18s complete the Entry Level 3 course you will then have enough experience to go onto a Level 2 Apprenticeship, they also put Apprenticeships on the Bolton College website but if you can't find one for a Chef there then an NVQ is your safest option, i find it quite unfair how over 18s can't learn at the college in Catering to higher their education but i guess you can still benefit from the Apprenticeships, although you probably can't choose exactly where to go, more than likely the Placement Officer also finds places that takes on Apprenticeships but not a lot of places allow it, if you work hard enough though at wherever you go you might land yourself a job, same for during placements.
Equipment: The college provides equipment for culinary students including knives so you won't have to pay for your own chef knife set. However you do have to pay for your own uniform, you need a black beanie hat, plane white chef jacket, flat shoes with some sort of grip (or black flat shoes for higher courses, apprenticeships and placements), and black chef pants. They will order a jacket and hat in for you but id advice you to buy another jacket and beanie to make it easier to wash them, id buy a uniform before the course then wait until they order in as they order in bulk from a website that has good quality uniforms, the jackets are slack and comfy and the hats are good fitting. You only have to pay £1 towards delivery so you can probably get a hat and a jacket for £15. You will need to buy your own chef pants too, beware when buying on ebay and amazon as they tend to say sizes are small, medium large etc... but are actually a lot smaller. Buy the chef pants with the draw string because you can't send them back to some companies due to health and safety reasons, if they are too big then you can just tighten them.
Overall if you want to study cooking here it's an alright college, not as good as proper culinary schools as it's a college not a dedicated cullinary school, you can join a course for part time (2 days a week), and full time (3 days a week, 1 day a week placement), you won't get your certificate studying part time though.
In terms of coast you can't get loans for the college but the job centre can pay the course for you if your on it, semester starts September so get your application in before then.