I started working in the catering and hospitality industry when I was 15, 20 years ago.
I spent my career jumping from business to business, working abroad and all over London, in different areas of the industry to allow me to gain knowledge of all different areas and styles.
I didn't go to college as I had to work full time at 16; however, looking back, I'm glad I didn't go, I felt that it worked better for me. By the time I was 19 I was demi-chef de partie running the larder in a 4-star 2-rosette hotel. By this point, the people who would have been in the same college class as me were my commis chefs.
So the lesson to learn from this is that you don't need to feel pressured to go to college, it's not right for everyone. If you have a dream go for it, work hard and learn hard. One thing I wish I had done was aimed higher at a younger age.