Young people will be able to train alongside top chefs with the opening of a new college, launched under a new scheme to offer employer-led education.
Bromley College in London is opening a Career College in Hospitality, Food and Enterprise for 14-19 year olds this week, under the Career Colleges initiative announced by Lord Baker in 2013.
It will join Career Colleges in Oldham, specialising in the digital and creative industries and another specialising in catering in Liverpool, which open later this month.
A further five are expected to be approved by the Career Colleges Trust later this year, with openings planned for 2015.
More than 60 proposals are being considered by the Trust for approval and it is expected that within four years there will be around 40 Career Colleges around the country.
Backed by high-profile industry advisors including representatives from Hilton, Hyatt and the Dorchester Group as well as TV chefs Chris and James Taylor, the innovative college in Bromley will offer specialist training, including work experience and mentoring, alongside GCSEs.
The industry-standard facilities will include training kitchens, classrooms and a student-run restaurant in Orpington town centre which will offer students real-life work experience.
The Career Colleges take advantage of the government’s decision to allow FE colleges to recruit at 14, and provide the opportunity to combine academic and vocational studies within a specific industry specialism.
Each college is supported by employers who help design and deliver the curriculum.
Alongside rigorous academic teaching in maths, English and other core subjects, Career Colleges offer real-world challenges, coupled with work experience, helping students develop their wider employability skills.
Career Colleges Trust chairman Luke Johnson, said Bromley’s Career College was an “extremely exciting project”.
“This is an excellent example of employers joining forces with colleges to provide a fantastic opportunity for 14-19 year olds, ensuring a rounded academic education, whilst learning valuable practical skills and being prepared for the world of work.”
Sam Parrett Principal of Bromley College, said the new centre will introduce a “unique and innovative approach” and fully prepare students for their future employment in the hospitality industry.
She said commercial skills will be a key part of the curriculum, responding to the high number of restaurant start-ups and the need for appropriate skills in south east London.