New national qualification helps catering sector

Published: Tue 13 Nov 2007 09:21 AM
Date: Tuesday 13 November
Catering and food services sector benefits
from new national qualification
Auckland’s District Health Board and Spotless Services are the first organisations to embrace a national qualification for New Zealand’s catering and food services sector.
The Hospitality Standards Institute (HSI) will today launch the Level Two National Certificate in Hospitality, for food services employees in organisations including catering firms, hospitals, prisons, residential care organisations, airlines and stadiums.
HSI’s Chief Executive, Steve Hanrahan, said the certificate was the first nationally recognised qualification for the sector, which employs about 13,000 people.
Further qualifications are being developed, providing a training pathway through to middle and senior management, which is linked to the national qualifications framework. A modern apprenticeship scheme is also planned for later next year.
“Compared with the rest of the hospitality industry the work of the catering and food services sector is done very much behind the scenes, however it’s integral to the country’s infrastructure.” Mr Hanrahan said.
Catering and food service organisations have largely relied on their own training systems in the past, however Mr Hanrahan said the new qualifications pathway provided a nationally recognised standard of training that demonstrated and helped achieve career progression within the hospitality industry.
“We’ve worked very closely with the sector to develop a qualifications pathway that enables staff to gain the skills and knowledge to develop their careers and provide a quality focus across the industry,” Mr Hanrahan said.
The national certificate will cover training in areas such as health and safety, food preparation and safety, time management and customer service, and will be managed on-site by employers. More advanced qualifications being developed will cover topics such as stock and supplier management.
In another first, HSI signed a memorandum of understanding with its Australian counterpart, Service Skills Australia, to adapt higher-level catering qualifications to suit the New Zealand market. These will be available as part of the catering and food services qualifications pathway next year.
Food services industry representative, John Wilkinson of Spotless Services, welcomed the qualifications pathway, saying it would help businesses to develop their staff and grow people into supervisory and management positions.
“Where people are trained to an accredited and assessed standard you know you’re going to have consistency of quality and efficiency,” Mr Wilkinson said.
Spotless already provides in-house training and some NZQA-approved courses for its 2,000 staff, and will pilot the certificate course in the Waikato before making it available to some 250 sites throughout the country.
Mr Wilkinson is particularly looking forward to the higher-level qualifications, saying these would provide an excellent progression towards the development of diploma and degree-level courses in food services and catering.
Union representative, Alastair Duncan of the Service and Food Workers Union, congratulated HSI for developing the qualifications pathway. “This is an important first step towards having the whole sector recognised, and for these ‘invisible’ staff to get recognition,” he said.
“ADHB and Spotless are to be congratulated for being the first to implement the qualification,” Mr Duncan said.
As an industry-led training organisation (ITO), HSI develops and monitors NZQA unit standards and qualifications for the hospitality industry, including overseeing, supervising, assisting and reviewing all nationally recognised training for employees.

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