A team of hospitality and catering lecturers from South Eastern Regional College (SERC) has won a Times Education Supplement (TES) FE Award 2021.
The team of eight – Ruth Doherty, Sheena Hunt, Brian Magill, Tom McCluney, Paul Monaghan, Ian Thompson and Thomas Turley, led by Deputy Head of School Paul Mercer – scooped the WorldSkills Hero category award in recognition of their commitment to giving students the opportunity to raise their technical standards and improve their soft skills set by competing in internal, regional, and international competitions.
Mr Mercer said: “We are absolutely delighted to have won the TES WorldSkills Hero Award.
“It is definitely a team award and recognition for the implementation of a programme designed to take our students to the next level through a range of activities, including participation in inter-campus and external competitions in Glasgow, Jersey and London; introduction of students to top chefs such as Michael Deal, Paul Rankin, Nick Narin and James Tanner; hosting WorldSkills heats in Restaurant Service, Confectionery and Culinary Arts and a Competitors Masterclass by confectioner and chocolatier Florian Poirot.
“The team also ensured our students continued to gain experience during the pandemic by working with them to prepare 1,250 dinners for the local community.”
He added: “The award is testament to the dedication of the team and indeed the commitment of our students.
“This past year has been difficult for everyone and our focus at SERC has been keeping our students on track to achieve so they can progress to employment or further studies and be part of the recovery for the tourism and hospitality sector.”
The Hospitality and Catering team has been visionary in its support for students’ competition preparation and promotion of WorldSkills Competitions often referred to as the ‘Olympics of skills’.
Over the past three years 398 students have competed in campus, inter-campus, regional and international competitions.
Six students were finalist in the 2019 WorldSkills UK Live and the first time the college entered the Patisserie and Confectionery Competition four students were selected to compete in the nine places with student Katie Graham awarded a Bronze Medal and Danny Bunphaung Highly Commended in Culinary Skills the following year.
Both students were asked to train for the UK Squad.