AN ASPIRING pastry chef is cooking her way to success after overcoming extreme shyness to earn a place on a culinary course.

As part of it, Amy Briffitt, from Eastbourne, has a placement at The Grand Hotel in King Edward's Parade, Eastbourne.

She puts her success partly down to joining The Girls' Network UK when she was in Year 10 at school.

The national mentoring charity helps girls aged 14 to 18 to improve their confidence and it gave Amy the support she needed to pursue her dream of becoming a pastry chef.

She always knew what she wanted to do as a career but was hampered by her severe lack of confidence and shyness.

The Argus: Amy has dreamed of becoming a pastry chef.Amy has dreamed of becoming a pastry chef.

The 17-year-old, who is now on a course at Bournemouth and Poole College, said: “I really don’t know what I would have done without my mentor Charlie Marsh.

"I was so painfully shy and lacked any sort of confidence before I joined The Girls' Network, and it was really holding me back from believing that I had a future as a chef.

“I knew exactly what I wanted to do after my GCSEs, but my fear of rejection and lack of self-belief was preventing me from applying for the course I wanted to do.

“My mentor helped me realise that I had a great deal of talent and skills to offer the catering world which helped me to believe in myself.

“She also taught me how to project myself in a confident and charismatic manner, even when I was feeling nervous underneath.

“I was able to use these skills in my college interview and secure a place on the course I only ever dreamed of. Now I am on a pathway to pursuing a career as a pastry chef and really believe I can become a success."

Charlie helped Amy overcome her fears by boosting her confidence, determination and ambition.

The Argus: Amy's mentor Charlie MarshAmy's mentor Charlie Marsh

The Girls’ Network relies on volunteers to maintain its programme.

This Volunteers' Week, which runs until Monday, the charity is hailing the women who give up their time to mentor girls.

Charly Young, chief executive and co-founder of The Girls’ Network, said: “Our mentoring programme couldn’t exist without the women who volunteer their time to help teenage girls who need it most, and for that we are truly grateful.

“We saw the number of women applying to be mentors in 2020 increase by 35 per cent compared with 2019, showing us that women recognised how much they had to give during a time when girls’ mental health, wellbeing and prospects were being so clearly impacted.

“This allowed us to reach out to more girls than ever before, with over 1,300 girls matched with mentors last year alone.”