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College serves up tasty courses;Letter

AN ARTICLE appeared in FE Focus (TES, September 10) stating "Chefs find NVQ unpalatable", which we felt didn't reflect the efforts and strides made in raising the profile and quality of National Vocational Qualifications.

The catering department at Highbury College in Portsmouth is nationally recognised by the industry for its provision of courses, including NVQs, and received a Grade I from the Further Education Funding Council in its last report.

All our students who have completed an NVQ have been offered jobs at the end of their course and many have gone on to work for leading restaurants and hotels.

Recent students have gone on to work at Claridges, The Chewton Glen, Scott's Restaurant and Langham's Brasserie, to name a few. Furthermore, we are currently running courses for major companies such as Whitbread, Gales and Granada.

The problem with NVQs is that they are relatively new and misunderstood. Each college sets its own standards, which is where the difference lies between a college that sets out to train its students to become top caterers and a college that sets out to provide a qualification.

Highbury aims to provide a service that meets the needs of both the industry and the students, by providing training that will develop a range of skills.

Restaurateur Albert Roux illustrated this point at a visit to the college this year, when he said, "The college is really focused on the skill requirements of the industry".

Brian Baker

Head of School of Hospitality and Catering

Highbury College

Portsmouth

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