Louis Makepeace, 18, was told that staff on the hospitality and catering course at the Heart of Worcestershire College have discriminated against him, citing his 3ft 10in stature as a “safety risk” in the kitchen, the BBC have reported.

The teenager from Worcester says he was offered a conditional place on the course which would allow him to purse his dream of working in catering, but says the college rescinded on the offer, saying he was too small to be in the kitchen.

His mother Pauline added that a course leader informed Louis that he should not do the course as he would not be allowed to work in a restaurant kitchen.

Louis told the BBC: “I wanted to learn the skill, but I’m appalled by the way this has been handled by the college.

“I’m not sure I would want to study at the college now, as they’ve messed me about and dragged it out for too long.

“I still want to cook and one day open my own cafe or restaurant.”

The Heart of Worcestershire College say they have undertaken a review of their kitchens in order to make “appropriate adjustments” to ensure his needs are met on the course, and told the BBC in a statement: “Due to the timing of Louis’ application, this process is still ongoing and after further discussions, we hope to have a final outcome by the end of this week.

“We would like to state that at no point has Louis been told he could not attend his course but both Louis and Mrs Makepeace have been informed that the adjustments Louis requires will need to be agreed before an unconditional offer can be given.”

Louis’ story was brought to the attention of celebrity chef and restaurateur Gordon Ramsey, who has offered him a place on the Gordon Ramsey Restaurants chef apprentice programme, with a spokesperson telling the BBC that he has “supported and mentored hundreds of young chefs throughout his career, and strongly believes no one should be discriminated against in the workplace due to a disability.”

Image: GothEric/Flickr
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