Attracting young talent and keeping the skills of existing professionals updated is an issue for every industry.
But fortunately the creation of specialist foodservice management programmes is now making it possible to overcome this challenge in the catering equipment sector.
Fears that the catering equipment market faces a ‘brain drain’ if new skills and talent aren’t properly nurtured by the industry are now being challenged by the establishment of new education initiatives, according to distributor trade body CEDA.
Members of numerous industry bodies, including CEDA, have recently pledged their commitment to an industry-wide apprenticeship programme, which can only be positive news for the future of the market.
And CEDA insists it is also important to note that the recently-formed TriEducation Initiative involving itself, CESA and FCSI is already providing learning opportunities for those within the catering equipment industry and those aiming to come into it or learn more about it.
Current programmes relevant to the catering equipment sector involve distance learning with some time spent in tutorials or on university campus.
Here is a guide to three of the main programmes currently available:
MSc International Hospitality Design & Management Consultancy
The UK hospitality economy is Britain’s fifth largest employer, but three years ago when 160 hospitality professionals were asked for their opinion on the industry 93% agreed there was a skills shortage. The FCSI and CEDA got together and commissioned the International Hospitality Design and Management Consultancy MSc at Sheffield Hallam University, also setting up The Catering Education Foundation to fill the gap in skilled managers and consultancy.
Both organisations were concerned about the lack of formal qualification for the specialist areas of design and consultant management and have sought to offer a formal qualification to teach and promote professional excellence.
What does it offer?
This ground-breaking course is answering the need for a professional qualification for design and management consultants as well as employees of catering equipment suppliers and distributors. It seeks to improve the skills of the industry and to raise the standards of professionalism. As well as providing a recognised academic qualification in this area for the first time, the course utilises new teaching and learning technology.
The three-year programme offers many benefits to its students including improving levels of understanding; developing personal qualities to improve effectiveness; and learning how to respond to both industrial and societal change. Should a candidate withdraw early from the course they can still gain a certificate or diploma qualifications if they have completed four or eight modules respectively. Membership of the partnership associations is an essential requirement for entry, which is judged on merit, with professional qualifications and experience taken into account.
Certified Food Service Professional (CFSP) Programme
CFSP is the industry-specific professional qualification for the UK foodservice industry, which is accredited by the University of West London. It was introduced under the auspices of CESA with the objective of helping improve the levels of professionalism in the sector by creating a universally-recognised and respected industry ‘standard’ for knowledge and experience. More than 200 people have graduated from the CFSP programme to date and the scheme is now being localised for overseas markets such as Sweden and the Middle East.
What does it offer?
The CFSP programme aims to raise the levels of professionalism throughout the foodservice sector by giving both catering operators and suppliers a better understanding of their industry. As it is aimed at professionals with more than three years’ management experience in the foodservice industry, CFSP covers every facet of the sector including kitchen design, distribution, food safety, sustainability and new technologies.
To successfully achieve the CFSP designation, candidates must study for and pass a comprehensive written test. A seminar for those sitting the test is held the day before it takes place. The exam lasts for two and a half hours and comprises 145 questions. A third of the questions are multiple choice, a third are ‘true or false’ and a third require candidates to fill in the blanks. All of the questions are based on the content of the ‘Introduction to Food Service’ guide that is distributed to candidates when they are accepted onto the course. Courses are generally held four times are year in different parts of the UK.
CPD in Foodservice Kitchen & Equipment Design
This the newest qualification of relevance the catering equipment industry and was developed by FCSI, CEDA and the University of West London. The module is part of the FdA Hospitality Business Consultancy and is designed to develop a candidate’s understanding of a kitchen as a primary usable area. In addition to the functional design of a kitchen, topics such as equipment, hygiene, maintenance, safety and cost are covered.
What does it offer?
The module provides an understanding of professional kitchens and food production areas from a design perspective, taking into account operator differences in terms of menu, number of covers, level of service and trading patterns. As equipment specification and procurement is a key functionality within a kitchen design project, this area is investigated in depth.
The module will develop the student’s ability to specify equipment as part of the design within the context of a variety of operational paradigms. Using computer-assisted drawing technologies, it will also afford the student the opportunity to design a kitchen to meet the business objectives as defined in a case study.
The course comprises 200 hours of learning, of which 36 hours involve classroom contact and the remainder independent study. Lectures and seminars take place over a 12-week period, based in Ealing, London. To benefit from the module, those on the course will need to take an active part in classroom activities as well as continuing their learning independently via electronic and resource-derived knowledge.