A WINCHESTER restaurant experienced double delight as it was recognised for its support for students.

The Chesil Rectory was presented with an award for excellence at Eastleigh College’s Annual Awards Ceremony.

The independently owned, modern British restaurant, which occupies a grade II listed building in Chesil Street, won Partner of the Year award for the support and career-focused opportunities it provides to learners, as well championing the work of FE colleges.

In addition, The Chesil’s Commis Chef, Michael Worth - who was a full-time student at the college, before joining The Chesil in the summer - won the Governors’ Award for Exceptional Progression.

The awards ceremony was organised by Eastleigh College’s Event Management students and took place at Eastleigh Football Stadium.

Mark Dodd, owner of The Chesil Rectory, said: “The Chesil has a long-standing partnership with Eastleigh College. We love to share our skills and knowledge, giving students encouragement, discipline, mentoring and guidance.

“It’s a lot more than just simple work experience, it’s giving these young, talented students confidence and the invaluable opportunity to establish a career in a real-life hospitality environment. It's a win-win situation.”

The partnership between The Chesil Rectory and Eastleigh College is unique, and the restaurant does not work with any other college in the same way. In May, The Chesil hosted an ‘Eastleigh Takeover’, during which students took the helm in the kitchen and front of house.

Mark added: “It was fully booked with paying customers and was a huge success, so much so, we will be doing another one next March.”

Dr Jan Edrich, Eastleigh College’s Chief Executive and Principal, said: “The evening provided a superb opportunity to celebrate outstanding successes across the College.

“We have over 21,000 learners, and work with 2,700 employers in the region and nationally providing education, bespoke courses and training solutions. In addition, many organisations work with us to provide invaluable knowledge, insight and work experience opportunities for our students.

“Whittling the excellent relationships we have with our partners down to one winner was challenging, but The Chesil Rectory has consistently gone beyond expectation, providing exceptional enrichment opportunities, and in some cases employment, for many of our learners.”

The evening also celebrated a number of other awards for students, apprentices, staff and industry partners including Catherine Ward, an apprentice with builder, Taylor Wimpey, winning ‘Apprentice of the Year’ and runner-up, Stacey Tiley who works with Hampshire County Council.

Jan added: “During the year the College has had two positive Ofsted visits including our Winchester Campus being awarded Outstanding for the fifth consecutive time since we opened it fifteen years ago. In addition, we gained Beacon status from the Association of Colleges for Support for Students and ‘Engagement with Employers’ – both reflecting our innovative and ambitious approach to meeting our customers’ needs.”