Two employer skills academies backed by a top chef and former Sheffield College student to develop the next generation of talent have been unveiled this week, to coincide with Colleges Week, from October 14th to 18th, which celebrates the positive impact that further education colleges have on students, employers and communities.
The official opening of the MSK Professional Cookery Academy and the MSK Patisserie Skills Academy took place on October 15th at The Sheffield College's City Campus.
The academies are being backed by college alumnus Rupert Rowley and his employer - the Chesterfield-based business MSK Ingredients.
Alongside completing their vocational qualifications at the College, taught by lecturers Len Unwin and Neil Taylor, the students will learn about all aspects of the company.
MSK Ingredients is also providing students with industry talks, workshops, work experience and placements to develop their employability skills.
Anita Straffon, Deputy Chief Executive, The Sheffield College, said: “It’s fantastic to see such strong homegrown talent return to the College and inspire the next generation of young chefs to go further in their careers.”
She added: “We are delighted to work with Rupert Rowley and MSK Ingredients as part of our wider employer skills academies programme that is equipping our students with the specialist sector skills that regional employers need.”
Rupert Rowley, Development Chef at MSK Ingredients, added: “It’s great to be able to give something back and make a formal agreement that will benefit the young chefs of tomorrow.”
Students, staff and governors, as well as MSK Ingredients employees and customers, attended the launch in the College’s Silver Plate Restaurant. Students served canapés showcasing MSK products.
Student Zoe Jenkinson, 19, who is completing the Professional Chef’s Diploma at Level 3, said: “I’m really enjoying my studies. I like the fact that you are learning something practical and different every day.”
Rupert Rowley trained at the College in 1995. He went on to work for household names including Raymond Blanc, John Burton Race and Gordon Ramsey before joining the Michelin-starred Fischer’s at Baslow Hall in 2002 as Sous Chef. He became Head Chef there in 2003.
Twelve employer skills academies have opened this academic year at the College to equip students with the qualifications and skills that regional businesses need covering sector specialisms such as catering, engineering, hospitality and information technology – with more set to open in future.