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University serves up a brighter future for young caterers

17 Dec 2012

Fifteen students will ‘graduate’ from The University of Manchester this Wednesday – but this latest crop of talent are all unemployed Manchester residents destined for the hospitality and catering industry.

Skills Academy

The University has launched its first ever ‘Skills Academy’ aimed at helping unemployed youngsters in Manchester to find their feet in this growing industry.

At a special ceremony at 10am on December 19, the ‘students’ will receive their City & Guilds in Hospitality, as well as an employability qualification to prepare them for the outside world.

The University’s Assistant HR Director Steve Grant said: “There are thousands of job opportunities in Manchester’s hotels, restaurants and bars. This unique programme has provided these young people with the knowledge and skills to get one of these jobs.”

The first course has been such a success, that there will be a new cohort joining in January, with twice as many people signing up.

One of the students, 19-year-old Jordan Hilton from Longsight, said: “I have been out of work for two years.  I liked the look of this course because it gives me real work experience and a qualification to work in catering. I feel really motivated and really look forward to getting up in the morning so I can get out of the house and do something that will get me off benefits and in to work.”

Martin Smith the university’s Executive Head Chef said: “Many people will be surprised to hear that the University is one of the biggest hospitality employers in the region. With 40,000 students and almost 11,000 staff to cater for, food and accommodation is a major operation. We employ people in all the roles you would find in a hotel or restaurant. I’m really pleased that we are playing a role in giving local people the opportunity to develop a career in this exciting and fast-moving industry.”

The course runs three days a week for seven weeks, and all the participants receive support from a workplace mentor to guide and assist them along the way. The jobseekers are now equipped with the skills to find work in kitchens, hospitality, outside catering, front of house, food & beverage or administration.

Any jobseeker completing the course is also guaranteed an interview with the University itself, one of the city’s largest hospitality employers. 

Steve Grant said: “This is the latest initiative in the University’s programme of interventions to help local disadvantaged people to find long-term employment through quality training. We are equipping people with the skills the industry needs and making it easier for hotels and restaurants to find skilled workers.”

Earlier this year, the University launched UniValet, a campus car-cleaning company staffed by local people who have been without a job for some time or may never have worked.

This latest project has been launched in conjunction with The Works, a training and advice centre set up by the University with sites in Moss Side and Ardwick. The Works is an employer-led one-stop-shop supporting local people to find jobs, develop skills and access training courses and financial advice.  

·         Anyone interested in signing up for the course can call 0161 828 3270

Notes for editors

  • Reporters and photographers are welcome to attend the event on Wednesday at 10am in the Council Chamber, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL
  • Contact Jon Keighren, Media Relations Manager, The University of Manchester, on 0161 275 8384