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University & NEC To Help Hard-Hit Hospitality Professionals

A training hub packed with vital support for food and hospitality professionals struggling due to the pandemic is being launched by University College Birmingham in partnership with the NEC Group.

The ‘Food and Hospitality Hub @UCB’ will give those working in one of the hardest-hit industries the chance to gain new practical and business skills, tapping into the expertise of the university’s teaching staff, plus free access to a range of resources already used by students.

Through the new hub, workers will be able to access everything from food safety and allergens training, CV, skills assessment and profiling guidance and health and wellbeing advice through to signposting to other university services such as the entrepreneur-focused Enterprise Hive and BSEEN, Birmingham Skills for Enterprise and Employability Network.

The launch of the new hub comes after the university signed up to support the recovery of the hospitality sector for the Coventry City of Culture celebrations in May, delivering ‘gold standard’ online training to around 500 staff across the region, funded by West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

Kali Davidson, head of the University’s Birmingham College of Food, said: “The global pandemic has had a devastating impact upon the food and hospitality sector within the region, a sector which is a significant part of the West Midlands economy and contributes to the vibrant and diverse culture within the city of Birmingham.

“With recent reports indicating that over 20,000 small businesses may be lost in the West Midlands as a result of the pandemic, the decimated hospitality sector representing a large part of this, we felt we needed to provide some tangible support to those who have lost their jobs or need to develop new skills.

“Working with employers such as the NEC Group, who are looking for support for frontline workers, and the West Midlands Federation of Small Businesses, we will be able to support the recovery and regeneration of the sector moving forward.”

Lewis Walker, head of higher education at Birmingham College of Food, said: “We are really proud to be at the heart of the West Midlands hospitality sector and be able to support local professionals, providing a range of training, resources and guidance, and encourage the regeneration of this exciting, diverse and crucially important industry within our city.

“It will also give our students opportunities to work with the sectors they are training to be employed in and get involved with the development of the hub itself.”

Alumini from Birmingham College of Food at the university include Brad Carter, owner of Michelin-starred Carters of Moseley, MasterChef: The Professionals finalists, Leo Kattou, Monty Stonehewer and Claire Hutchings, European street food champion Lee Desanges, Indian celebrity chef Garima Poddar, Becca Boast, senior cookery tutor at The Raymond Blanc Cookery School, and creators of hit YouTube cookery channel SORTEDfood, Ben Ebbrell and James Currie.

While the new hub will initially be run virtually through an open access portal, there are plans to run face-to-face sessions at the university’s industry-standard kitchens and in workplaces in the region.

To find out more about the Food and Hospitality Hub @UCB, email Kali at [email protected] or Lewis at [email protected].

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Who is Dawn Bannister

Dawn has over 30 years recruitment experience recruiting for the likes of Sainsbury’s plc, Holiday Inn, Barclaycard, ISS, Royal Mail, West Midlands Police and the NEC – to name a few. She also oversaw the company’s Investors in People accreditation in 1999 – (and held ever since) and has recently been selected to attend the prestigious programme run by Aston University’s Business Growth Programme.