Commercial Services train catering staff in Appetite for Life campaign
A programme of training has been developed and delivered across all Cardiff secondary schools to further support the effort that Cardiff Catering, the internal department of the Council, has been undertaking since 2007 in working towards the Welsh Government’s Appetite for Life initiative. Cardiff and Vale College’s Commercial Services arm will deliver training for 40 catering managers and assistant catering managers from across the city which will be the biggest drive of professional catering skills training that has been undertaken within the local authority.
Following a number of high profile campaigns surrounding school meal provision the Welsh Government pledged to improve health and nutrition in schools, across the whole of Wales. The Appetite for Life Action Plan sets out recommendations for school meals that are in line with the Welsh Government’s broader agenda on healthy eating and wellbeing for children and young people in Wales. From September 2013 all non-independent secondary schools in Cardiff will have to comply with a range of food, drink and nutrition standards, which will include directives on the nutritional makeup of the meals and how often to serve certain food groups.
With the legislation ahead, Cardiff Catering approached Cardiff and Vale College (CAVC) for professional culinary skills training as part of their Appetite for Life action plan. CAVC Commercial Services department designed a course specifically for the local schools, putting together a specially tailored package of units which would ensure that the catering managers and assistant catering managers had the right skills and knowledge for the challenges ahead and to ensure that there was a minimum standard of skills within the entire workforce.
Wendy Williams, Head of Business Development and Commercial Services at the College said: “We worked with the Council to identify the additional knowledge and skills the catering managers needed to meet Welsh Government requirements. We then tailored the delivery of an accredited course to meet the learners’ exact needs. This approach ensured the learners had personalised support to achieve a nationally recognised qualification.”
Learners study topics such as menu planning, kitchen efficiency and nutrition alongside practical learning in advanced cookery methods. They prepare dishes from scratch, together with gaining vital skills including basic fishmongery and butchery skills, pastry skills and various healthier cooking techniques. Classes take the format of practical work in the morning preparing meals which the learners then eat for lunch, followed by an afternoon of theory and online tests. The course is taught by Professional Chefs James Roedemer and Ray Vincent. At the end of fifteen weeks participants are awarded a Level 2 Certificate in Hospitality and Catering: Professional Cookery.
Melanie Timothy, Catering Manager at Whitchurch Upper said “This course is really helping develop my skills in the kitchen and improving my knowledge. I’m really enjoying the course and find it very useful when I go back into my kitchen in work.”
The 15-week course was piloted before Christmas, with the first cohort of staff from nine schools across Cardiff all successfully achieving their award. Wendy Williams said “The pilot was a real success with learners and their managers all satisfied that the training will make a positive difference to pupil nutrition in Cardiff schools. We are delighted that the Council has also approved four more cohorts of learners from Secondary Schools to attend the course.”