Food education – Better Eating, Better Learning - Orkney Islands Council and Orkney College
This practice exemplar explores a joint programme between Orkney Islands Council and Orkney College for the training and development of school cooks. It is part of a series of practice exemplars about making the links between education and catering, meeting the guidelines within Better Eating, Better Learning.
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What was done?
Orkney College offers an SVQ Professional Cookery level 2 and 3 aimed at developing the cooking skills of newly promoted cooks and kitchen assistants who wish to progress to cooking roles.
It had been difficult to recruit cooks so the programme identifies and develops staff for future promotion. It has also led to:
- improved standards in school meals provision
- greater understanding of nutrition
- development of cookery knowledge and skills including preparation, cooking and presentation skills, knowledge of allergens, and enhanced understanding of food safety management systems
- improved IT skills
There has also been an increase in staff development and succession planning which has led to:
- increased confidence among school cooks
- increased staff retention
- enhanced qualifications
- an improvement in the quality of service to customers
In addition, the programme has contributed towards menu development for the service. Staff are more able to prepare food for any functions or inter-school activities related to food.
What was the impact?
Previously, seven staff completed an HNC in Professional Cookery to enhance supervisory skills working as Head Cooks. Staff have found that the opportunity of coming together to learn has improved communication between school kitchen staff.
"I have picked up a lot of useful hints and tips from the tutor and have had the opportunity to cook a wide variety of dishes. This has improved my skills and confidence." SVQ Professional Cookery participant
What happens next?
The programme builds on an already strong partnership between School Meals and Orkney College for the training and development of staff. The next step would be to provide training for cooks in healthier cooking methods, nutrition and portion size.