Meet Laura Smith, Kitchen Workshop Leader at CSA

June 22, 2023

How long have you worked at Camphill School Aberdeen?

I have been in my current role for almost a year.

What brought you to Camphill School Aberdeen?

I actually started work on the Murtle Estate just before I had my children, and I then went off on maternity leave. I had a career break to look after my kids and then returned to work as a cook at Camphill House on the Camphill Estate in 2012, where I worked for 10 years.

The job then came up as the kitchen workshop leader on the Murtle Estate so I decided to make the move and try my hand at something different.

What does your role at Camphill School Aberdeen consist of?

My role is teaching the young adults basic cookery skills in the kitchen – no matter what their ability, there is always something they can do.

I run two sessions in a day for them, depending on the group’s capabilities. This can be a therapeutic session for the young adults teaching them basic skills, while others are more confident and can cook meals from scratch.

The workshops at Camphill School Aberdeen form part of the charity’s internal STARS Awards giving young people with even the most complex disabilities, the opportunity to have their further education achievements officially recognised.

The things they learn here in the kitchen really are meaningful, and are life skills they can use for years to come.

Whether it’s chopping organic vegetables picked from the garden here at Camphill to use in recipes or cleaning the kitchen, all the students get involved.

It really is a pleasure seeing them enjoying their time in the kitchen and watching them develop their skills. Some are better at cooking than me!


Are there any highlights that stand out to you during your time at Camphill School Aberdeen?

For me, getting this job has been the best highlight here. I never envisaged leaving my role as a cook, but putting my practical experience into the role of kitchen workshop leader has given me real satisfaction.

It really doesn’t feel like I am coming to work here as it is more like a second family to me. It feels really homely and is such a nice environment.

Another highlight is seeing the students growing up and developing their skills. I’m a real mother hen, and I enjoy fussing over them.


How much of a difference will the capital appeal campaign, when complete, make to students and their families at Camphill School Aberdeen?

To me Camphill is unique, and being able to offer more places for young adults with additional needs will make a massive difference with more living space on offer to accommodate the growing number of families looking for extra support.

I think the fact that Murtle Market will be opening to the wider community is really important too as all students will have a role to play to contribute to this - from baking goods and making preserves and jams to go on sale, to serving in the new store. This will allow members of the public to see all the hard work that goes on here, and will also let the young people from Camphill School Aberdeen see their hard work being enjoyed out with the school.

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