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Compass Scotland Case Study: Adam McIlroy

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Compass Scotland Case Study: Adam McIlroy

Compass Scotland Case Study: Adam McIlroy
April 29
14:40 2024

Growing up in Glasgow’s Maryhill with aspirations of one day qualifying as a chef, Adam McIlroy completed a professional cookery programme at college during the pandemic but was left unsure of how he would take his first steps into the industry. After hearing of the Apprenticeship in Hospitality Scotland programme through Springboard, he applied for a Compass Scotland apprenticeship and joined the team at the SEC in Glasgow.
He spoke to and shared his experience of his …

Immersed in large-scale events including COP-26, he was offered a 12-week placement at Restaurant Andrew Fairlie under Compass Scotland’s culinary ambassador, Chef Stephen McLaughlin. With Michelin Star training under his belt, he has now returned to the SEC as chef de partie to continue his career with Compass Scotland.

CS: Why did you choose this apprenticeship?

AM: I completed a professional cookery programme at college and, thanks to Springboard, I was told about the Apprenticeship in Hospitality Scotland programme, which led me to Compass Scotland. They were looking for culinary apprentices in the lead up to COP-26 and I felt this was the perfect opportunity to start my professional career and gain the experience I was looking for. I thought that once you’ve worked at an event like that, you can work anywhere!

CS: What does your apprenticeship role involve?

AM: I joined the team at the SEC in Glasgow first at the Hydro and then at the Clydebuilt Bar and Kitchen. Then, in Autumn last year, I began a 12-week placement at Restaurant Andrew Fairlie working under Stephen McLaughlin on several different kitchen stations, including preparing beef tartare, crab and lobster, all to Two-Michelin-Star level. The experience I gained there was unsurpassed.

At the SEC, I managed various stations, prepping food, preparing dishes for service and managing the pass to make sure every dish served was of a high standard. I’ve also worked on several large events, serving more than 2,000 covers in a single evening.

CS: What are you most proud of?

AM: Working in the Clydebuilt during the Ed Sheeran concert, which was a sold-out, high-volume event. Due to a last-minute staffing change, the kitchen team had to swap positions and I took over the pass. Although it was one of the busiest nights in the calendar, and I didn’t have a lot of experience on the pass at that point but the service went incredibly smoothly. This massively improved my confidence and made me feel like I had the skills to be successful and could take a leadership role in the kitchen.

CS: How has your apprenticeship influenced your ambitions and plans for the future?

AM: I’m dead set on being a chef now. Within Compass I could travel the world and live in multiple different countries. I love being active in my work and so a career as a chef is the perfect option for me.

With an industry-leading apprenticeship programme which provides an aspirational roadmap and opportunities for skills-development, Compass Scotland offers the potential to transform career prospects for people of all ages while developing a highly skilled workforce for the future.

Visit for more information on how apprenticeships can turbo-boost your catering career.

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Catering Scotland

Catering Scotland

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