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Catering industry needs to offer students more training opportunities

posted 26 Nov 2014, 03:16 by Unknown user   [ updated 4 Dec 2014, 03:55 ]
On Tuesday 18th November, GCSE catering students from Richmond Park Academy (RPA) had the opportunity to prepare and enjoy an afternoon tea at the prestigious boutique Bingham Hotel in Richmond upon Thames. But  there needs to be a huge improvement in giving young people better access to workplace training if we are ever to increase the number of skilled chefs and catering professionals in Britain. 

Hayley Hunter, food technology teacher at RPA, comments: “I have a growing concern as an educator regarding the lack of support and training offered to our youth. This is vitally needed to encourage and support possible careers within the catering and hospitality industries.”

As part of their catering GCSE, candidates visit a hotel to gain a better understanding of how a commercial kitchen works and to have the challenge of preparing a dish within that environment, as well as having a costumer experience. For the past three months RPA’s food technology teacher contacted numerous establishments and hotels to try and secure a visit for her students in order to enable them to fulfil the expectation of their GCSE course. After many negative responses or agreement only against a hefty price tag beyond expectation, Erick
Kervaon, the General Manager of the Bingham Hotel, responded positively and offered to accommodate all 21 students at no cost.

Erick comments: “I am extremely passionate about the industry and understand the importance of training up our youth. I was therefore delighted to be able to support the learning experience of the students from one of our nearby schools.”

We are calling for more awareness to be made about the shortage of skilled chefs and catering staff as the result of a lack of professional training opportunities. The secondary school would like to see a call to action that encourages more establishments, like the Bingham Hotel, to take part in the worthy cause of inspiring and training our young people.

Ms Hunter summarises: “Whether it be through trips, taster days or work experience, we need to develop a better culture of passing on our knowledge and passion for food to our youth. I feel very strongly that we need to be investing in students at the earliest possible stage in order to solve Britain’s massive shortage of skilled chefs and catering staff. Without providing early intervention and work experience how can we expect success?

On behalf of RPA and our GCSE students we thank Mr Kervaon and the Bingham Hotel for giving us this fantastic opportunity and for supporting the learning experience of our young caterers.”  

Mrs Rahim, Year 11 student's mother, Commented about the experience her daughter had: "Zara was impressed by the glamorous ambiance of the hotel, coupled with the hospitality of its staff. The whole experience was hugely beneficial to her learning and we were delighted to share that experience by tasting the out-of-this-world cakes she brought home. Please extend our compliments to the hotel; we will be sure to visit for afternoon tea."