21 year old Matthew Bowes from Lisburn dreamed of working in a professional kitchen from a young age. He has now landed a full time job working alongside top chef Danny Millar at The Parson’s Nose in Hillsborough.

Despite having moderate learning difficulties, Matthew was determined to succeed.  He loved to cook and went on to complete NVQ’s in Professional Cookery but struggled to land his dream job.  “I always got a buzz from cooking and wanted a job in a professional kitchen but I felt I needed support to get there.  The support and encouragement from the Stepping Stones NI team have been invaluable to me.  I’ve learned so much and developed as a person.  I believe in myself and feel so proud to be working alongside head chef Danny Millar” says Matthew.

The Parson’s Nose is one of Bridgestone Guide’s Top 100 Restaurants in Ireland and has also earned a listing in The Michelin Guide.  When asked how he thought Matthew was progressing in his role top chef Millar says “Matthew rocks!”

Award winning Stepping Stones NI are on the lookout for people like Matthew who want to find paid employment.  With connections to hundreds of employers, the team support people who experience barriers to employment.  Employment Officer, Colum McGrath says “We see everyone’s potential and have twenty years of expertise supporting people with Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia and learning difficulties to gain meaningful training and employment”.

This project is part funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014 – 2020 and the Department for the Economy.