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After a long campaign, supported by Spice Business and the British Curry Awards, among others, a network of colleges dedicated to training and educating the next generation of curry chefs is being opened in the UK.

The Minister for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, John Hayes MP, launched five Asian & Oriental Centres of Excellence recently as part of a long-term initia- tive, set up by People 1st and championed by the Hospitality Guild. These centres will train unemployed people to become skilled chefs and will help Asian and Oriental res- taurant owners adapt to the new immigration cap which restricts their ability to recruit chefs from outside the EU. This approach of addressing skills shortages will be used as a pilot model with plans to roll out similar centres in other occupations.

Recruits will take part in a six-week pre-employment pro- gramme, which will include training and work experience with an employer. This will equip them with fundamental hospitality skills such as customer service, food safety, and health and safety. It will also give them both an insight into

the exciting career options and a qualification, the Level 1 Award in Introduction to Employment in the Hospitality Industry. At the end of this programme they are also guar- anteed an interview with a prospective employer for either a job or a paid apprenticeship in Indian, Bangladeshi, Chinese or Thai cuisine.

Employers will be able to easily find suitable recruits who have completed the programme by viewing their CVs on the ‘Talent Search’ section on HYPERLINK “http://www.uksp.” – People 1st’s website for careers, jobs, qualifications, funding and training opportunities in hospi- tality, passenger transport, travel and tourism.


John Hayes MP awarded the Hospitality Guild £1.75 million following a successful bid to its Growth and Innovation Fund. He said: “These centres will help thousands of young unem- ployed people get the training they need to improve their job prospects, by giving them the confidence and skills required for a successful career in Asian and Oriental cuisine.We want to grow our own talent and that requires government and employers working together to increase aspirations.”

Five colleges have been named as part of the scheme to begin with and these are Westminster Kingsway College, Leeds City College, Trafford College, University of West London and University College Birmingham. The colleges are hosting road show events in April and May to promote career opportunities in Asian and Oriental cuisine, offer taster sessions, and engage with employers who are taking on apprentices

Annette Allmark, Centres of Excellence Manager at the Hospitality Guild, says, “Research has shown that appren- tices become productive quickly and can help make a busi- ness more competitive, reduce staff turnover, and lead to a more motivated and satisfied workforce”.

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