Teenagers from across Cardiff took part in a First Campus event hosted at the city's prestigious Park Plaza Hotel. This formed part of a hospitality project aimed at providing them with practical cookery skills, service skills and knowledge of the future opportunities available to them in this sector.
16 students aged between11and 14 from Willows High School, Tremorfa and Michaelston Community College, Ely, received a front of house and kitchen tour of the hotel before sitting down for a four course meal. From this they have learnt first-hand the service and quality that is expected at top end restaurants, in preparation for serving their own gourmet presentation meal to friends families and dignitaries at Cardiff Metropolitan University in late March.
The Park Plaza visit forms part of a ten week after-school club, learning how to run a professional restaurant, under the guidance of Cardiff Metropolitan University tutors Dean Way and Teresa Beckett, supported by two current undergraduate students on the Hospitality degree course.
Dean is a member of the team which recently cooked for world leaders including Barack Obama during the NATO summit at the Celtic Manor in September.
The Park Plaza dining experience gave pupils a real chance to experience work within a fine dining environment and learn what it is like to work in the hospitality industry first-hand, under the experienced eye of Park Plaza Senior Manager Jordan Lewis, himself a former Cardiff Met student.
Speaking about the activity, Jordan said: "It was clear to see that the students are passionate about what they are doing, and their enthusiasm was inspiring! Hospitality offers various career options and by gaining hands on experience these teenagers are putting themselves in a great position to succeed in their chosen career path."
Natalie Ray, First Campus Co-ordinator added: "First Campus provides young people with the opportunity to have first-hand industry experience. Our programmes explore relevant progression pathways and routes into Further and Higher education and enable young people to develop the relevant skills and knowledge needed to build careers within their chosen fields".
First Campus is a collaborative project consisting of all the Higher and Further education institutions in South East Wales. Through collaboration, the project runs a series of exciting and challenging activities for a wide cross section of pupils from Communities First areas of pupils who are at Key Stage 2, 3 and 4 as well as extending the reach to other identified all-age target groups. The activities fully complement the curriculum, enrich studies, encourage participation and are enjoyable for all participants.
Photo caption: Phillip Lambert of Cardiff Metropolitan University, Kane Chambers, Willows High School, Taite Johnson from Michaelston Community College, Jordan Lewis of Park Plaza