Oldham-based distributor Safeguard has constructed a full commercial kitchen at its premises as part of the launch of its Safeguard Training Fusion initiative.
The Safeguard Fusion Training Centre opens today and will help to educate young people in catering and hospitality, in a state of the art commercial kitchen and classrooms.
Safeguard Fusion Training is the firm’s education and community lead Ben Ingham’s baby but also the brainchild of local chef Afruj Chowdhury and former BBC staffer Deb Troops.
Ingham explained: “For us as a business it was very simple: we weren’t able to fill our vacancies and it wasn’t just for specialist trades like gas fitting; many applicants had poor or no basic English and maths so we decided that the only way to support people coming into the workplace was to train them ourselves.”
The next phase of the project will see the introduction of traditional skills including plumbing, plastering, electrics and gas engineering. It’s been 2 years in the planning, with pilot schemes run at local schools and projects for youth groups and charities.
Ingham added: “Students learning with us will work alongside not just our employees but also those of our customers and clients, who will send their own people here instead of wasting precious hours teaching staff on site.
“From the first day in the building people will have the chance to network and get contacts. They are learning in a real working environment. The training kitchen is laid out exactly as anyone from the industry would expect to see if they walked into their own restaurant or hotel.
“We work with everyone from Michelin star eateries to fast food and pub chains. We can offer opportunities that few others can and we believe that this will give our trainees a distinct advantage.”