HIT Training has launched a Level 2 Award in Professional Cookery in Health and Social Care. It is the first training provider to offer the new qualification and will be working in partnership with St Andrew’s Healthcare to deliver it to an initial cohort of learners.

The qualification, which is specifically for people who cater for patients and residents in a health and social care setting, has been designed by the Institute of Hospitality in association with the Hospital Caterers Association (HCA) and National Association of Care Catering (NACC). Aimed at developing awareness of potential diet and appetite issues, the qualification covers the importance of nutrition, hydration and maintaining health and wellbeing. It also offers specific training on the needs of dysphagia sufferers and how the condition impacts diets and menus.

Apprentices of all levels can benefit from the qualification by broadening their skill set with specialist understanding on dysphagia. The qualification also enables caterers to have greater versatility in the kitchen and give residents and patients more choice at meal times. What’s more, businesses can strengthen their offering by giving employees the right knowledge to prepare suitable meals with fresh ingredients, rather than relying on pre-made meals.

HIT Training has worked closely with development chefs at St Andrew’s Healthcare, a charity that provides specialist mental healthcare, to tailor the Level 2 Award programme to meet their precise needs.

Paul Mannering, Principal of HIT Training’s Chef Academy, said:

“It’s fantastic to see an employer investing in its chefs and helping them to strengthen their repertoire with a specific discipline.

“Catering for those with dysphagia is a hugely important skill to have in a health and social care setting. Not least, having the additional skills to prepare dysphagic food in an attractive way, exploring creative use of textures to give patients and residents greater visual recognition and enjoyment of their food.

“We’re immensely excited by this partnership with St Andrew’s. By tapping into the expertise of their existing chefs we have created a highly practical and relevant training programme specifically designed to meet the development needs of their business. We encourage others in this sector to follow St Andrew’s lead – training is a great way to strengthen a business’ offering by upskilling its employees and, in turn, benefit from the positive ripple effect this has on employee attraction and retention rates.”

Vicky Wheatley, Learning and Development Manager at St Andrew’s Healthcare, added:

“Working in a mental health setting, we’re delighted to be able to offer our chefs vital knowledge and expertise around dysphagia, which isn’t available through most other training programmes. HIT Training has worked closely with us to understand our training requirements and offer us a bespoke programme. This qualification is invaluable to us; it will enable the charity to provide a specialist catering service that gives our chefs the flexibility to stretch their creative muscles and prepare meals with fresh ingredients, with the confidence that they’re meeting the individual needs of our residents.”

About HIT TrainingHIT Training is the apprenticeship provider of choice for the hospitality and catering sector. Having supported over 100,000 learners across 20,000 employer sites throughout the country, at HIT we offer a huge range of apprenticeships and development schemes for people at all levels, from school-leavers to senior management.

Founded in 2006, our award-winning expert trainers have vast amounts of experience in helping companies to up-skill their employees, having each enjoyed successful careers in the field themselves. Our team supports and sits right alongside apprentices through their career journeys with expert advice, creativity and passion and, because they’ve all been there, they understand that each apprentice’s journey is different and each employer’s requirements are unique.

Our team takes the time to get to know every individual and business we work with to find the best training solutions to meet all end goals, improve team motivation, increase the quality of services and boost businesses’ profitability. In the last year alone, HIT delivered over a quarter of all hotel and catering apprenticeships in England and helped more than 20,000 people gain a qualification, apprenticeship or job.

About the HIT Chef Academy: The HIT Chef Academy is an innovative training model for the culinary stars of the future. It aims to meet the rising demand for highly skilled chefs resulting from the growth in fine dining in the UK over the last two decades.

The academy supplements our professional chef apprenticeship programme for any apprentice working in a ‘fine dining’ kitchen and nominated by their Head Chef to participate in the academy’s enhancement activities. Headed by Paul Mannering, Academy Principal, and run by our expert chef trainers at locations across the country, the training programme brings together the very best in culinary excellence to provide apprentices with the highest quality training, development and learning in the industry.

Apprentice chefs who are enrolled onto our Chef Academy, in addition to their normal apprenticeship schedule, will be invited to attend additional programmes which take place every six to eight weeks.

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