The first NVQ Level 2 Diploma in professional cookery in health and social care catering is being piloted at Barnet and Southgate College in North London in May.
The 20-week course and qualification is the result of a collaboration involving the National Association of Care Catering (NACC), the Hospital Caterers Association (HCA), and the college. The programme will address the lack of a recognised formal professional catering qualification dedicated to the health and social care sector.
The diploma will cover the core curriculum required by any professional chef, including effective teamwork, hygiene, the maintenance of health and safety, and cookery units focusing on fish, meat and poultry preparation as well as vegetable dishes.
Additional specialised topics specific to the health and social care sector will cover the vital areas of nutrition and hydration, fortification, texture-modified foods, and allergies and diets.
It is hoped to roll out the course to colleges nationwide by 2016.
Neel Radia, (right) national chair, NACC, said: “The absence of a professional qualification in health and social care catering has been a huge concern and injustice for the sector and those working within it. I’m thrilled that by working together with our association partners we are one giant step closer to redressing the balance.
“Caterers within the sector are already doing a great job and the examples of excellence we see daily are inspirational. However, the endorsement that this qualification brings will ensure that standards continue to rise by giving caterers the training, recognition and pride they deserve.”