CHESTERFIELD CHAMPION: ‘The town is a very friendly place to live and work’

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My name is Michaela Greaves and I’m the operations manager for catering and service industries at Chesterfield College.

It is my job to make sure the Looks hair and beauty salon, the Taste restaurant and the Explore travel agency, all based at college, are providing a good service to customers and are offering students realistic and practical experiences to develop their skills.

I have worked at the college for 22 years, in various roles from tutoring to management.

Throughout my time at college, I have always spent a great deal of time making sure students get relevant work experience as well as the theory they need to help them develop a career.

By operating real businesses that students work in at college, we can put theory into practice.

1. What’s your best memory of the town?

I’ve got so many good memories of working in the town, but for me what stands out the most was my graduation day five years ago.

I was really proud to be able to take part in the parade through the town centre and the service in the Crooked Spire.

2. What development do you think will make the biggest difference to the town?

I am looking forward to seeing the Waterside Development start.

Many of the students who are perfecting their culinary skills in our professional kitchens or their hospitality skills front of house at the Taste restaurant could end up working at or managing the new restaurants that are part of this scheme.

3. How would you describe Chesterfield to someone who has never visited?

It is a friendly place to live and work. It has a good food and drink scene and passion to develop that further.

We have seen how keen local restaurateurs are to work with us, developing skills that they will need to expand their businesses and develop new and exciting places for residents and visitors to go.

4. What are the positives of running a business here?

The other businesses we work with across the area are really important to us because they are the ones who help us to give our students some really exciting opportunities outside of college. It’s a partnership approach.

5. Who or what do you turn to in Chesterfield for business advice?

I get so much from the partnership approach we operate with the local businesses we work with. Also, I find that social media is a really useful tool .

6. Why did you choose to base your business in Chesterfield?

There will always be a demand to help local businesses get the right skills. We chose to establish Taste, Looks and Explore because we knew hands on experience would benefit students and local employers.

7. What advice would you give to someone establishing a business here?

I would advise anyone setting up a business in the town to find out how we can work with you. Chesterfield College can help businesses to get the skills they need.