Project update 2009
Training for the nursery sector
Good Food Training (GFT) is working with London Early Years Foundation to develop National Occupational Standards for the nursery catering sector and to design a qualification for nursery cooks. The steering group is established and includes the Caroline Walker Trust, the Soil Association and representatives from five London boroughs.
Training in prisons
At Holloway prison all staff are on track to complete their Assessor and Verifier awards. Of the 13 prisoners at HMP Holloway who started the NVQ2, 7 are due to complete next month. The low completion rate is typical of prisons. One ex-trainee has gained a place at Jamie Oliver's training restaurant Fifteen.
Despite a range of challenges, 14 training sessions have now been run for around 30 learners at HMP Latchmere House and Wormwood Scrubs. The prison has an attractive and functional training garden and is enjoying its first harvest.
Other course development
Other recent training includes:
- Food Waste and Energy Management for Caterlink Cooks
- Sustainable Food for Cookery Clubs for all 25 of Greenwich's cookery club tutors
- How to Set up a Food Growing Club in Olga Primary School, Tower Hamlets
- Good Food Summer School classes for 50 children.
We are also working with Westminster Kingsway catering college to incorporate sustainability into their level three Professional Cookery diploma qualification. Westminster Kingsway is a leading catering college, an advisor to the London 2012 Olympics, and was recently accredited as a member of a national network for food and drink training, so Sustain's work with them could be highly influential.
Promoting vegetarian options is a way to reduce meat use and promote healthier eating. We have designed two courses, Raising your Pulses and Greens with Envy held in October, featuring demonstrations from top chefs, including the Vegetarian Society's Cordon Vert cookery school.
This phase of Good Food Training concludes in October and City University is currently writing the project's evaluation report, due for completion in October. We are hopeful of continued funding from the London Development Agency and/or Greater London Authority, but this is not yet confirmed.
Together with Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency we have produced an interim report - Good Food Training: What we have learned. Although the report was warmly welcomed by the London Food Board, it is not yet clear if the project will receive continued funding after September 2009, so we are investigating alternative sources. A full evaluation report will be available in autumn 2009.
At HMP Holloway seven kitchen staff are being trained as NVQ assessors; the catering manager is training as a verifier; and 14 prisoners working in the kitchen are undertaking NVQs in Food Processing and Cooking. We have provided supplementary training on food purchasing and menu planning, and on basic nutrition (involving prisoners), and over the summer will provide 'Food & Mood' and more nutrition training to staff and prisoners. In May, we provided an 'Introduction to Sustainable Food' session to the members of the London Hospital Caterers Association. The Soil Association, who co-ordinate the Food for Life catering mark for public sector caterers, also contributed.
The second forequarter meat training day took place at Lewisham College in May, aided by the chef and master butcher from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, Meat Services Division. The event generated much positive feedback. One butcher, who supplies London hospitals, told us he is now more willing to use creative butchery to enable caterers to buy cost-effective, higher-welfare meat.
Training for food growing
The induction day for new food growing trainers in April has created a pool of horticultural knowledge and experience to draw on. In June we started a six-week course for a group of volunteer parents and school children in Tower Hamlets in 'How to Run a Food Growing Club'. Trainer and garden designer Paul Richens ran a one-day 'Introduction to Growing in Schools' course for teachers and volunteer parents in Croydon.
Trainers and venue are now booked for Good Food Summer School at Bredinghurst School, Southwark, for three weeks in August. Nutrition, seasonal cooking, food growing, food waste disposal, and raising animals for food will all be covered.
Standards for catering training
We continue to contribute to the revision of public sector catering's National Occupational Standards (NOS) by the catering Sector Skills Council, People 1st. Hospitality industry NOS currently do not cover sustainable food. Similarly, there is no national qualification to provide the skills and knowledge needed for healthy and sustainable public sector catering in nurseries or other pre-school care, and no mandatory catering standards. We will be working with the London Early Years Foundation to develop NOS for this sector and (if funding continues beyond September) to design an appropriate qualification for nursery cooks.
Good food training courses
Project officer Pamela Brunton has continued to develop and run well-received training courses for people buying and preparing food in the public sector. The total number of individuals recruited and trained by Sustain from hospitals, prisons and care settings is now over 450, and we have exceeded our targets in every category.
Pamela has created new training materials. The “Why Does Lunchtime Matter?” and “Seasonal Food Calendar” floor mat games have been tested in a number of training sessions and will be sold to generate income for the Good Food Training project.
With Mel Taylor, lead nutrition trainer at the GCDA, Pamela developed a new “Customer Service for Schools” short course, provided to 140 of the London Borough of Newham's catering staff during mid-term break in February.
School summer schools
Responding to an increasing number of requests from schools, hospitals and prisons, we are currently recruiting a pool of food growing trainers. Pamela is also planning a week-long “summer school” for school children in Southwark.
The Seafood Training School at Billingsgate Market hosted “Beyond Cod” in January. Seafood School staff, with speakers from Marine Stewardship Council and the “Good Catch” initiative, showed the 29 participants the cooking and preparation skills required to use sustainable fish. Feedback was very positive.
n January Pamela attended the first meeting of the Expert Panel for public sector and large-scale catering. This panel informs the review of National Occupational Standards, on which industry training qualifications are based, and the development of new qualifications (including new Vocationally Related Qualifications (VRQs) and apprenticeship schemes). This could be very helpful, but the process is designed to be a compromise between industry, government and training providers.
Setting up a FEAST centre
With the support of Sustain, Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency have obtained £85,000 capital funding from the School Food Trust (SFT) to provide accredited and bespoke training courses to school caterers. The SFT investment will partly fund the planned training kitchen, to be built and managed by GCDA, which will provide facilities for training and start-up catering businesses. Pamela will continue to advise on sustainable catering training courses.
Sustain continues to work with the Greenwich Cooperative Development Agency (GCDA), under contract to the London Development Agency, to provide training for London's caterers on healthy and sustainable food in the public sector. Training for hospital staff is well underway, so project officer Pamela Brunton is focusing on recruitment in London's care sector and prisons.
So far, the total number of individuals trained from hospitals, prisons and care settings is 332, of which 45 have taken an NVQ Level 2 or equivalent, and the remainder have participated in short courses. Participants come from a very diverse range of ethnic backgrounds.
Pamela has developed courses applicable to diverse care settings, for example residential care settings for the elderly, including those with dementia; and for carers of adults with learning disabilities.
For the prison sector, the project has run a day-long Chartered Institute for Environmental Health (CIEH) award in healthy eating and special diets, in both HMP Wormwood Scrubs and Latchmere House young offenders institute in Richmond. Plans for 'Good Food Growing' skills training at Latchmere House are developing, and training is due to start in autumn 2008, with interest from Garden Organic and the Allotments Association.
Training with HMP Holloway, the women's prison in Islington, will start in October 2008. The project will qualify seven Holloway staff to assess prisoners in NVQ-level food training, and one staff member to verify this process. This will lay the foundations for a lasting legacy of training at the jail.
Pamela continues to write content for the short courses, and has played a more active role in leading training. Her first training session in July was menu planning for schools in Sutton, with further sessions tailored to the particular requirements of adults with learning difficulties and of children in after-school care.
Responding to feedback from the City University evaluation team, Pamela is helping to integrate sustainable food messages into all short courses.
Quality meat on a public sector budget
Pamela, with Rosie Blackburn, organised a training day at Westminster Kingsway Catering College in partnership with the Agriculture Development Board Meat Services (formerly the Meat & Livestock Commission). This familiarised catering managers and cooks with cost-efficient cuts of meat, and encouraged them to buy and serve meat from animals raised to high standards. Mike Duckett (catering manager at the Royal Brompton hospital) has now encouraged his butcher to supply shoulder of lamb and pork and forequarter cuts of beef.
Pamela is also planning a similar event promoting more sustainable fish on public sector menus.