The two-week course was part of a wider project - West Coast 360 - which brings partners and employers together to raise skills and prospects for people in hospitality and tourism.
It provided those taking part with a range of qualifications– and all-important hands-on, practical experience, culminating in a cook-off to demonstrate what they have learned.
Deputy Leader of West Somerset Council, Cllr Mandy Chilcott, supported the course and said: “I was so impressed with everyone who was involved – the participants, the trainers and the organisers. Hospitality and tourism are key to our local economy and by improving the skills and training, we can offer our visitors the very best experience. This is a great initiative and I was pleased to be able to support it.”
Cllr Andrew Hadley, Lead Member for economic regeneration, said: “This was a great start to our West Coast 360 project, giving positive and practical help to those that are looking to work in the hospitality and tourism industry. I am so pleased that so many West Somerset business are involved, giving these young people the skills required to move on into work.
West Coast 360 plans to offer support to the future workforce, the current workforce and local businesses through skills and training opportunities as well as exciting events.
The first project, the Hospitality and Tourism Pre Employment Programme, was aimed at those seeking related opportunities. The first week focused on applicants developing essential customer services skills as well as provide an introduction to the hospitality industry.
Participants also gained certificates in Food Safety Level and Health and Safety in the Workplace Level whilst the second week involved developing practical experience in a kitchen.
Applicants’ skills were put to the test on the final day when they demonstrated the skills they learned by working in small teams and cooking for their friends and family.
Paul Ruttledge, Head Chef and Trainer at The Beach Hotel, said: “The change in the candidates, the bond they built between themselves and the team they built in such a short period indicated their commitment to getting back to work in something that clearly interested them.”
Werner Hartholt, Resort Development Chef at Butlins, added: “I thought the participants of the project came with an excellent attitude towards teamwork. They were so keen to learn, progress and work together to deliver a great experience. Their attitude has allowed me to offer the interested participants a position within Butlins.”
A number of partners supported the project with including Job Centre Plus Minehead, Butlin’s, The Beach Hotel, West Somerset Council, Acacia Training, Minehead Information Centre, West Somerset College, Rosanda House B&B, Somerset Larder, Tesco and HPC Jobs Service Team. Many local employers and food producers offered donated food and drink to support the event, including Arthur David and Co, Lidl, Morrison’s and Tesco.
West Coast 360 is part of the Enterprising Minehead Project which was recently successful in securing funding from the Community Impact Mitigation Fund. If anyone is interested in finding out more about the project should call Emily Wishart on 01984 635219 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Attached is a photo of candidates with their hard-earned certificates – Cllr Mandy Chilcott, Deputy Leader of the Council, who joined the group for the final session, is pictured right.