8th November 2023
South Devon College is thrilled to announce it has been awarded funding from the Savoy Educational Trust, to help get the taste buds tingling for its catering students.
The grant, established by the registered charity for the ‘advancement and development of education, training and qualifications within the hospitality industry’, is awarded on an annual basis via successful application by education providers offering courses in hospitality and catering. This gives students a taste of a career in hospitality whilst developing their vocational skills needed within the workforce.
The College has been awarded the Savoy funding every year since 2006, which has enabled it to run its Junior Chef Academy and continually improve its hospitality educational facilities.
The Junior Chef Academy is open to 11-15 year olds, and offers aspiring young chefs the opportunity to progress from Bronze to Gold level, during a seven-week after school club. Students learn to develop knife skills, together with a range of cooking methods, including boiling, steaming, frying and baking, working in a professional kitchen to a high standard of health and safety under Head Chef instruction.
Students work within the College’s Horizons restaurant, which gives a true insight into a commercial kitchen environment.
The courses culminate in an awards ceremony, held in Horizons, where the students prepare and deliver a two-course celebratory evening meal to family, friends and guests.
The well-equipped student-run kitchen in Horizons restaurant
The Savoy funding also enables the College to purchase small kitchen equipment to support the student-run restaurant, such as knives, aprons and ingredients. This year, the College will purchase a new oven using the grant contribution.
In addition, the full-time courses, for 16 to 18 year olds, benefit from a large budget for enrichment activities and work placement opportunities.
The funding is also used to further personal development and gain a wider insight into the hospitality sector by the way of guest speakers, taster sessions for secondary school visitors, and masterclasses from local businesses – the students and staff have especially enjoyed demonstrations from local chocolatiers!
Thanks to the grant, students also enjoy trips within South Devon and to London during their study, which includes a visit to the Savoy Hotel, as well as sampling the culturally diverse menus from the wide array of street food vendors.
Ben Ratcliffe, 17 from Paignton, gained confidence from the trip to London. He said: “Visiting London opened my eyes to what the large hotel kitchens look like and made me realise what I want to do in the future – I want to go to London and work in a commercial kitchen.”
Another student, Max Smith, 17, from Paignton agreed. He said: “It was nice to see a bigger working environment, and to see how different kitchens work. It made me realise I want to work in a local restaurant kitchen, perhaps somewhere a bit quieter than large-scale hotel catering!”
The staff are also encouraged to further their skillset, with external Continuing Professional Development courses covered by the grant, including barista training and, yes, more chocolate instruction!
Trevor Smee, Programme Co-ordinator for Hospitality and Catering, said: “Last year we visited behind the scenes of The Ritz, and Clarridges, during our London trip. For those learners who prefer to remain closer to home, we visited The Mercure in Paignton, and The Courtyard in Exeter, with tours and demonstrations by chefs.
“The SAVOY fund is very generous, and our leaners and staff are so fortunate to have this to add to an already well-resourced section. The value-added experience remains with the learners for a lifetime.”