The South West College (SWC) Catering Department has concluded a new pilot course – ‘Sustainability in Catering’ – designed to support both the educational and behavioural change in regards to local food and sustainability through the Food for Thought Project.
Over the course of the project, catering students from across Dungannon, Enniskillen and Omagh Campuses learned about food destinations, sustainable sourcing and procurement, trends and lifestyles and how to reduce food waste. Students also learned about the economic, environmental and social benefits of sustainable food practices, commonly referred to as the ‘three pillars of sustainability.’
‘Food For Thought’ is an Erasmus+ project, which brings together 5 European Partners with specific expertise in the provision of catering and hospitality training. The project also identifies emerging trends and skills requirements within the sector through collaboration with industry ambassadors, education providers and government departments. Collectively the partners recognise the priorities of the EU 2020 ‘New Skills for New Jobs” by: seeking to anticipate more clearly future skills needs; developing better matching between skills and labour market needs; bridging the gap between the worlds of education and work.
Simon Wiggins, Tourism and Hospitality Development Officer, SWC and project co-ordinator said:
“We are now in the third year of the project and it’s amazing to see how the partners’ work has developed into course material and is actively being piloted on our catering and hospitality students in SWC and elsewhere in Europe.
“Following the completion of the pilot course, partners will now evaluate the overall learning experience and make necessary changes before organising demonstration workshops in early 2020 to allow industry stakeholders the chance to see for themselves, the newly created sustainability course for catering operations.”
Mary Mallon, SWC Catering student said:
“Sustainability is a word we are hearing more and more in our lives and it has been really interesting to learn about how it fits into the catering industry. This course has made the whole area of sustainability more relevant to us and we can apply it to our assignments and training at the college.
“We now know that sustainable food is food that is safe and healthy, the importance of knowing where our food and ingredients come from, the shocking facts about food waste and the importance of getting the right balance for healthy diets.
“I have enjoyed the course and I think everyone in the catering industry should be aware of the importance of sustainability.”
On the closing day of the project, SWC catering students were treated to a surprise visit from top chefs, Michael Deane (Deane’s Restaurant) and Noel McMeel (Executive Head Chef, Lough Erne Resort), who endorsed the programme and spoke to the students about the realities of sustainable practices in their businesses.
The Food for Thought project partners will meet at Alexandre Dumas College, Strasbourg, France in December 2019, where they will evaluate the pilot results and agree changes to be made before launching the ‘Sustainability in Catering’ programme to the public in Spring 2020.
For further information please contact Simon Wiggins Simon.Wiggins@swc.ac.uk