Recipe for a great career: How college gave one man the ingredients to succeed in the restaurant business

Restaurateur James Thomson didn't like school. Much of his time was spent looking out of the windows at the old buildings of Edinburgh, fantasising about their history and the people who had lived there. What Thomson did like was working. Aged 12, he became a dishwasher at Crawford's tearooms on North Bridge. "My grandmother had a cashier job there, and they were always short of dishwashers, so I was called in. I loved the theatre of the place – they served morning coffee, lunches and high tea, and had old-fashioned cake stands and waitresses who all mothered me and gave me strawberry tarts to eat. I also helped the chef. I loved things like the smell of the coffee and cheeses, and the whole ambience of the place."

How training can help you develop the skills for survival

The downturn is no time to abandon training. Kate Hilpern argues that it's the point when you need it most

John Bingham: 'Governors are having more impact and reporting greater job satisfaction than before'

Chair of the Board, The Association of Colleges (AoC)

New chapter: How college are helping to change people's lives

The upcoming Colleges Week will highlight the many benefits that college life offers.

A-Z of Courses: Glass-blowing

With distance learning, not being in the same country as your university isn't a problem

Bought anything on eBay recently? A flight booked online, perhaps? Or maybe surfed around looking at insurance premiums? We do so much of our own business online these days that it's hardly a revolutionary idea to learn about business via the internet. That explains the healthy supply of online and distance-learning postgraduate courses in the field of business education. The Association of Business Schools (ABS) lists higher-education institutions offering one or other model of distance learning, leading to a management-related Masters.

Rise to the challenge: Stand out from the crowded jobs market with a Masters in business management

With one in 10 of this summer's graduates expected to be unemployed six months after leaving university – a sharp rise on previous years – applications for postgraduate courses have jumped. It seems that recent graduates, frustrated by the toughest jobs market in more than a decade, are taking to heart recent findings from the Higher Education Statistics Agency showing that holders of postgraduate degrees are likely to get higher paid and better jobs than those with only one degree.

A clearer future: Why sustainability graduates are in hot demand

It's not a word you would have seen in course titles 10 years ago, but Masters courses in sustainability have been popping up in many universities and business schools over the past few years. One of the first was at the Centre for Research Into Sustainability at Royal Holloway, University of London, which offers an MSc in sustainability and management. The course, taught between the management and geography departments, was first offered in 2004.

John Bingham: 'This reform will improve the support that governors need'

Chair of the board, Association of Colleges

Degrees of comfort: Where to find smaller classes and caring lecturers

Some students prefer to take university-level courses at further education colleges, where they get smaller classes, a more hands-on approach and help with employment when they graduate.

The joy of studying without moving

Distance learning provides an opportunity to 'future proof' your career.

Instead of going on holiday stay in a Gothic mansion and study

Holidays are usually defined narrowly as an escape from work, but, an increasing number of people are seeking something constructive to do in their free time and signing up for a residential course instead of a lazy beach break, according to the Adult Residential Colleges Association (ARCA).

Master the job market: Give your career an edge with further qualifications

Whether training for a specific career, indulging in academic research, or simply sitting tight to avoid the fierce graduate recruitment market, more and more university leavers are choosing to extend their studies. The Higher Education Careers Services Unit (Hecsu) expects that of the near 300,000 students who graduate this summer, 30 per cent will enrol on a postgraduate course – an extra 30,000 students on the recent average.

Forget agricultural training - today's trendy subjects are horticulture and pets

Its name may not roll off the tongue easily but medicinal horticulture is the course to be on since the BBC began its series Grow Your Own Drugs this year.

Formula for fun: Salford City College takes a lighter approach to attract young scientists

It's a question that has business, industry, educationalists and politicians scratching their heads: why isn't the UK producing more maths, science and engineering graduates? Not enough students are studying these key disciplines at university, A-level and GCSE, with young people consistently being turned off by poor teaching, dull classrooms and the common misconception that these are difficult subjects leading to "geeky" professions.

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