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BCA join with People 1st For the Development of Skills and Training

BCA join with People 1st - the industry focused body for the development of skills and training -

to launch five

culinary Asian and Oriental Centres Of Excellence across the UK ensuring the future of talented chefs in the country.

The last 10 years has seen the Asian and Oriental restaurant and takeaway market thrive and mature. Over that period there has been a real transformation in the diversity and quality of the food and experience available.

Although, like much of the hospitality industry it is today facing critical challenges owing to tough trading conditions. These are largely as a result of the global economic downturn, as well as steep increases in energy and food costs, which have considerably reduced margins. However, one of the biggest threats to the continued vitality of the industry is the increasing difficulty in which employers are able to recruit skilled chefs.

For many businesses, the new immigration restrictions are prohibitively costly, which will mean they are no longer are able to recruit talented chefs from outside of the European Union. Whilst the policy doesn’t affect those currently working in the country, for those businesses seeking to expand or replace chefs, finding the right skilled staff is already proving challenging.

The changes mean that many businesses need to take a fresh approach to the way in which they recruit, and help is at hand. A number of

industry bodies, including the Bangladesh

Caterers Association have come together under the leadership of People 1st to set up five Asian and Oriental Centres of Excellence across the UK. These centres of excellence provide a focus for the industry to recruit people into the industry through specialised routes that are robust and reflect the needs of Asian and Oriental businesses.

They will work under the auspices of the new Hospitality Guild, which brings industry bodies, employers and learning providers together to make it easier for employers to recruit and train staff and as a result increase the professionalism of the hospitality industry.

The new Asian and Oriental Chef Centres of Excellence will be based in five of the country’s best catering colleges. People interested in becoming chefs skilled in Asian and Oriental cuisine will go through structured pre-employment training programmes that will not only make them work ready, but give them an opportunity to experience working in an Asian and Oriental kitchens. Employers will then interview those that have successfully

Curry & Tandoori | Volume 11 | December 2011 The Bangladesh Cuisine  37

undertaken the programme with a view to employing them in their business as an apprentice. These new apprentices will work with the employer undertaking training one day a week in the college. The college will be on hand to support the apprentice, working with employers from the industry to ensure that we can combine the practical experience of skilled chefs with the training experience of the college. In addition, employers will be able to draw on support from industry bodies such as the Bangladeshi Caterers Association to forge the path ahead for the new recruits. In a short amount of time the employer will have benefitted by employing a skilled chef, trained in their area of cuisine.

These centres are to be situated in Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and two in London and if successful, we hope to bring them to other areas of the country.

The partnership of colleges, employers and industry bodies with the support of government provides a unique and fresh approach to tackling the industry’s skill needs and empowers employers to take the lead on something, which they have been asking for such a long time. These new centres are not going to be without


challenges. Firstly, we need to promote the industry as a career destination and in so doing so we need to highlight the fantastic opportunities of working in the industry, but at the same time ensure that those interested in working in the

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