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Premier Foods hosts careers workshop for GCSE students

Participating pupils from Loreto College
22 Feb 2019
Supplier Premier Foods hosted a careers workshop for local GCSE pupils studying food technology in St Albans yesterday (14 February), to provide insight into the catering, hospitality and food manufacturing industries.

Working with 11, year 11 pupils from Loreto College, the event took place at the company’s head office (St Albans) and formed part of IGD’s ‘Feeding Britain’ programme. This links food businesses with local secondary schools to help build on-going relationships.

Kicking off with a welcome presentation from Premier Foods’ executive chef, Mark Rigby, he opened pupils’ eyes to career options within the industry, commenting: “The food industry has changed immensely and offers bigger, better and more interesting career opportunities.

 “It’s not just the culinary basis of food that’s interesting, it’s the science of food. It was great to welcome in some of our local students to talk about this, get them involved in some cooking and make them aware of the varying career options available.

“We really enjoyed holding (Premier Foods’) first head office visit with Loreto College, which I hope inspired some of the students to consider a career within the industry.”

He then challenged pupils to create seven sweet and savoury dishes made from a list of ingredients in just 1.5hours.

Divided into two teams, the competition took the format of ‘Ready Steady Cook’ with judges paying particular attention to teamwork, cleanliness, presentation and overall taste of the dishes.

As well as developing transferable employment skills, Rigby emphasised the importance of “aiming higher in their careers, learning a trade well, finding a mentor and achieving a good work/life balance.”

Naomi Ross, assistant head teacher at Loreto College, said: “Our students were really excited to come and see the work of the chefs at Premier Foods, and the opportunities that a career in catering, hospitality and food manufacturing can offer. 

“It is a great chance for (them) to learn how they can apply the skills they gain in their food technology lessons in real life.”

IGD charity programmes director Anne Bordier added: “Now in its third year, the School Partnerships initiative is having a big impact.

“Some 89% of students who took part in the initiative last year said they felt more prepared for the world of work.

“The School Partnerships initiative is part of IGD’s ‘Feeding Britain’s Future’ campaign, which has been helping students since 2015 to develop their employability skills.

“The campaign brings the food and grocery industry together to inspire the next generation and has trained 35,000 students nationwide.”