From education to employment

President of Panama visits the UK’s leading culinary school

On Tuesday 15 May, Westminster Kingsway College in London’s Victoria hosted a visit by HE Juan Carlos Varela, the President of Panama, together with Ministers of his Government and Panamanian business leaders.

The Government of Panama is improving the quality and relevance of its technical education, and is building a new vocational institute called ITSE, to boost the skills of its people in industry sectors that it sees as vital to its future prosperity, including engineering and technology, business, and hospitality and tourism.

Westminster Kingsway is part of a consortium working with the Panamanian government and the UK’s Department for International Trade and to provide advice and support for setting the institute up, including helping to develop its curriculum. Key sectors for Panama are culinary arts and hotel operations, and Westminster Kingsway’s expertise in these fields means that we are leading on developing the curriculum in these two areas.

During their visit, the President and his delegation learned more about the work done at the college, as well as meeting staff and students and having a tour of the teaching kitchens, which replicate the kitchens that graduates will work in, in leading restaurants and hotels. This “realistic learning environment” is key to the college’s success in educating some of the country’s finest chefs, from Jamie Olive and Sophie Wright, to Ainsley Harriott and Great 2017 Great British Menu finalist Selin Kiazim.

Andy Wilson, Chief Executive of the Capital City College Group – of which Westminster Kingsway College is a part – hosted the delegation. He said: “We were delighted and honoured to meet with Senor Varela and members of his Government today. We are committed to providing high quality training and development and this, allied to our experience and expertise in culinary arts and hospitality, as well as our excellent links with the international hospitality industry, puts us in an ideal position to support the development of the new ITSE Institute in Panama City. We’re delighted to be a part of that initiative and wish it every success.”

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