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News: Supported Learning students take charge of their campus canteen

Please note: This news story may contain information that is no longer current or up to date.
Stapleford students with staff in the canteen

Our Stapleford Campus is home to our supported learning courses where we offer a range of flexible learning programmes from Pre-entry Level through to Level 1. Small class sizes, tutors with specialist training and a wealth of specialist resources help all our students achieve.

At our Stapleford Campus the canteen is at the heart of the building and where our learners and staff spend a lot of their time in-between lessons. What is special about this canteen is that it is run almost entirely by our Introduction to Hospitality and Catering students.

Despite only being several weeks into their course, learners have, under the guidance of an experienced Catering Lecturer and Learning Support Assistant, taken control of the fully equipped commercial kitchen. They share a range of responsibilities, from preparing menu items, drawing up allergen lists and designating other kitchen tasks between them (such as cleaning, tidying, and maintaining equipment), to preparing food orders and serving customers (their fellow students, tutors, and other college staff) during the lunchtime service.

Not only does this replicate a real working kitchen environment, but students are gaining hands-on industry experience and skills they need for future employment in the sector.

Mel with learners
Catering Lecturer Mel Luff (centre) with some of her learners.

The Canteen is unique as it is the only facility within the College sites run by Curriculum. Mel Luff Catering lecturer of 22 years at Nottingham College manages this unique facility. She says:

I have been in the fortunate position of being based at the City Hub and the Stapleford Campus which means I can assist with progression pathways and collaborations between both Catering provisions. 

The learners are studying an AIM Entry 3 Extended Award in Skills for Working in Catering & Hospitality and are part of a team of ten trainee chefs/​cooks who all work incredibly hard.

They assist the other learners on a daily basis and are patient and kind whilst preparing, cooking and serving up to 50 meals daily from the Canteen. The learners are a range of abilities and have a varying levels of learning needs and disabilities. They are all very dedicated, professional individuals and all have aspirations to achieve and seek employment or voluntary work, either in the catering industry or other outlets.

These learners are assisting in running an integral part of the provision at our Stapleford Campus by supplying hot food and drink provision to other vulnerable learners and members of staff, whilst gaining valuable skills and experience in the sector through this qualification.”

This qualification is vital for those SLDD (Special Learning Difficulties and Disabilities)learners who wish to develop their knowledge and skills in the vocational area of Catering and Hospitality but do not necessarily have the skills, knowledge, experience or confidence to attend a mainstream course.

The course offers excellent progression routes for the future, including in mainstream college education. These practical sessions are delivered in a professional, Realistic Working Environment (RWE) setting, catering for the SLDD provision at the Stapleford Campus. We have recently acquired some equipment from the former Clarendon Catering Department to aid the realistic working environment and standards.” - Mel Luff, Catering Lecturer.

Stapleford student Quinn
Quinn Clark

Quinn Clark, aged 16 from Langley Mill is the Student representative. She tells us how since starting the course her confidence has improved as she’s had the opportunity to work in a kitchen environment and learn new skills.

As a course rep I have the opportunity to speak up on behalf of my course mates. I volunteered because I enjoy meeting new people. Having the chance to work with students from across other college campuses and meet with members of staff to raise issues is a great experience.” 

Working in the Canteen at the Stapleford Campus was my first time working in a kitchen. Having the real experience, being in the kitchen with all the equipment, working as part of a team, preparing menu items, serving people, and working on the tills has been great.

Everything I am learning on my course will help me in the future and has given me the confidence to consider getting a job in catering and hospitality so I can get more experience. My ultimate goal is to own my own café one day.”

Supported Learning at Nottingham College

We offer courses specifically designed to meet the needs of students between the ages of 16 and 24 who have a learning difficulty and/​or disability, and to help them reach their potential.

Published on:
  • 17th November 2021 (9:31 AM)
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