The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and Savoy Educational Trust align to launch a modern College Community Programme

Lisa Jenkins

Royal Academy of Culinary Arts

Premium Supplier 12th April 2024
Lisa Jenkins

The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and Savoy Educational Trust align to launch a modern College Community Programme

The Savoy Educational Trust (SET) has awarded The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts (RACA) funding just shy of £300,000 to support a RACA College Community Programme over the next three years.

The project will see the RACA and its members reach out to colleges across the country with a plan (and funding) to connect more college students to the hospitality industry.

The RACA is the UK’s leading professional membership association of head chefs, head pastry chefs, restaurant managers and associates providing education, inspiration, and aspiration through a variety of channels including the RACA apprenticeship programme, the Annual Awards of Excellence, the Adopt a School charity, and the four-yearly Master of Culinary Arts competition.

Lisa Jenkins, chief executive of RACA, said: “To supplement the work we already do with our four accredited colleges, the RACA College Community Programme will stretch the number of colleges we can work with and subsequently share the knowledge and network of RACA and its industry partners.

“The RACA College Community Programme will provide a greater number of college students with the opportunity to learn additional skills to those taught whilst studying by connecting them to RACA academicians and operators and a network of industry contacts. Increasing the prospect of job opportunities and mentorship.

“This age group are the industry’s direct target audience and will be our priority alongside supporting other organisations and charities such as Adopt A School and Springboard to deliver their programmes in schools. The RACA College Community Programme will allow better connection with students looking for opportunities across both front and back of house and the industry needs to be vocal with the exciting opportunities. These can be communicated at the presentations and site visits – amplifying the variety and number of vacancies that are available to support the operators’ recruitment process.”

As the project develops, the RACA team will create best practice guides to share across the community and industry. The programme will raise awareness of the scope of opportunities and give students access to inspiring and ‘hero’ professionals with high standards so they will see how they can develop higher level skills and gain more practical experience and understanding of what is required for a successful career, giving them a better understanding of workplace expectations, and making them more employable. It will also give lecturers an opportunity for Continuing Professional Development and encourage them to challenge students to achieve their very best through competition and industry engagement.

The programme will include regional personal development sessions, focusing on soft skills such as asking the right questions, preparing for interviews, listening skills and feedback. As the college community grows there will be opportunities for students to attend recruitment days and industry events, where they will meet new mentors and peers across the sector.

Jenkins added: “We aim to have a spread of colleges across the country alongside the six we have started working with in Northern Ireland (thanks to funding from the Worshipful Company of Cooks) and these will be selected based on personal recommendations from our academicians and our wider network. This is about reaching all the stars of the future and connecting them to an exciting and vibrant industry where the sky really is the limit.”

Angela Maher, Chief Executive of the Savoy Educational Trust, said “Our trustees are excited to support the RACA College Community Programme. This initiative will offer opportunities for college students and their lecturers to directly connect with experts and operators within the hospitality industry, enriching their learning and advancing their skills. RACA’s academicians and professional networks will be invaluable in ensuring the success of the programme, delivering unique hands-on experiences and education to the next-generation of talented young people who will become future leaders in the sector.”

The programme will commence in May 2024 and will be overseen by Neil Rippington as the RACA College Community Programme Director reporting to the RACA CEO and trustees. Rippington is also chair of RACA’s Education Committee and is well versed in college practices with his previous senior education roles at UCB, Colchester Institute and Sparsholt College, and his work with Harvard University, and with the International Institute of Hotel Management (IIHM). He is also a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a Subject Matter Expert with Ofqual, an honorary member and Principal Examiner for City and Guilds and part of the IfATE board working on vocational education and apprenticeships.

Rippington commented: “This project provides a fantastic opportunity for the RACA to utilise its membership and support colleges throughout the United Kingdom. We view this as the missing link that will connect the amazing talents and opportunities that the RACA can access with colleges on a local basis. It will deliver wide-ranging activities across the country and allow the academy to make a significant and positive impact on the learning, development, and potential employment opportunities of students. The timing of the project is imperative as colleges continue to struggle with increased costs and need as much support as possible.”

The Savoy Educational Trust was originally established in 1961 by four directors of the then Savoy Group. It remains an independent, grant giving charitable trust, whose main aim is to advance and develop education, training and qualifications within the hospitality industry.

RACA supports young people, colleges, and educational institutions by providing unrivalled programmes and apprenticeships through its extensive network of academician members, associates and industry contacts while raising the standards and awareness of food, food provenance and sustainability, cooking, and service.

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