Good Food Training for London: What we have learned

Good Food Training for London was set up in 2007 to provide free-of-charge food skills training to around 1,000 catering, procurement and other staff in schools, hospitals, prisons and care settings in London. The Mayor's London Food Strategy recognised that to secure benefits to health, the environment and the London economy, catering staff needed the skills and knowledge to plan, prepare and serve healthy, seasonal and locally-produced menus. Based on practical experiences of what works and analysis of the barriers to change, this report develops recommendations for future training policy, next steps for the training project and practical activities for London and the wider public sector.


Good Food Training for London: What we have learnedGood Food Training for London was set up in 2007 to provide free-of-charge food skills training to over 1,000 catering, procurement and other staff in schools, hospitals, prisons and care settings in London. The project aimed to increase the amount of healthy and sustainable food in public sector catering and to improve the skills of public sector caterers. It also developed and tested training modules and helped catering colleges integrate these into training programmes.

The UK’s public sector spends £2 billion on food annually and could play a significant role in improving local economies and communities, the natural environment, animal welfare, public health and reducing the
very substantial climate change emissions associated with our food system. In addition, the public sector is a significant employer and increasing the vocational skills available to its employees could provide a
considerable boost to the sector.

The Mayor of London’s London Food Strategy (2006) recognised that to secure benefits to health, the environment and the London economy, catering staff needed the skills and knowledge to plan, prepare and serve healthy, seasonal and locally-produced menus. The London Development Agency (whose work on food then moved to the Greater London Authority) therefore backed a project, designed and implemented by Sustain and the Greenwich Cooperative Development Agency, to develop healthy and sustainable food skills training for London's public sector.

GCDA and Sustain were the lead partners with input from NHS Greenwich. We also worked with training colleges with catering expertise, including Lewisham College and Hackney Community College, and independent trainers. The project received research support from the Centre for Food Policy at City University London. The programme was funded by the London Development Agency as a major project of the Implementation Plan of the London Food Strategy,

Sustain's involvement also meant that the project was designed to be locally as well as nationally applicable, to improve the health and well-being of people eating food in public sector institutions, the sustainability of the food system, and the skills of public sector caterers, as well as food procurement staff and front-of-house staff.

Based on practical experiences of what works and analysis of the barriers to change, this report, written during the project as part of a process of review, develops recommendations for future training policy, next steps for the training project and practical activities for London and the wider public sector.

PROGRESS UPDATE (2012): Since this report, Sustain has supported the Greater London Authority and local authorities in London Boroughs to increase their use of healthy and sustainable food. This work has been undertaken as part of Good Food on the Public Plate project and the Good Food Training for London project.

In 2010, we are proud to report that the Greater London Authority family of statutory organisations (police, fire brigade, transport and City Hall) committed to adopting a sustainable food policy in line with the London 2012 Food Vision, to which Sustain also contributed extensively.

Sustain was also invited to help design and support implementation of food standards for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. For background, see: www.sustainweb.org/olympicfood - and for the Food Legacy project, inspired by the London 2012 Food Vision, see: www.foodlegacy.org.

In addition, millions of pounds of local authority food buying is now spent on sustainable food due to the work of Good Food on the Public Plate and the Food for Life Partnership. The increase in uptake of healthy and sustainable food by London's local authority procurement is tracked in London Food Link's Good Food for London report.
In 2012, Sustain launched the Campaign for Better Hospital Food. Please get involved to help win compulsory health and sustainability standards for food served in hospitals!

Report contents

1. Introduction

2. What is Good Food Training?

3. What we do

  • Developing bespoke training courses
  • Designing new training materials
  • Providing accredited training courses
  • Running procurement skills training events
  • Providing tailored programmes of training
  • Working on food skills training policy

4. Good Food Training’s successes so far

5. Results from the evaluation

  • Barriers to doing the training, reported by participants
  • Barriers to putting into practice what is learned reported by participants

6. Conclusions

7. Next steps for Good Food Training

Footnotes

Appendices

  • Appendix one: Recommendations for policy-makers, the public sector and skills training organisations
  • Appendix two: UK Government policy affecting public sector food training

 


31/05/2009
Good Food Training

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