Compass & Highbury College launches Junior Chef Academy

Compass Group UK & Ireland, the UK’s largest foodservice provider, has set up its new Junior Chef Academy in collaboration with established partner Highbury College, Portsmouth, who specialise in vocational learning.

The after-school course will run for 10 weeks, spanning March to May, during which time the selected student cohort will be taught a variety of dishes and skills, including vegetable and fish preparation, meat masterclasses and more; this will all be underpinned by training in food preparation safety.

Calling upon its chef experts, Compass Group UK & Ireland has introduced sessions with Women in Food Ambassador and Lead Development Chef, Leanne Turk; and Robert Brown who is Head of Menu, Recipe & Ingredients Management Team.

Paula Tegerdine, Catering Apprenticeship Trainer, Highbury College said, “The free Junior Chef Academy is a great after-school activity.

'Students will not only gain a lot of confidence on the course, they’ll also be having loads of fun while learning a new skillset in professional cookery, alongside gaining a preview of how their life could look if they were to progress into an apprenticeship. I’m really looking forward to welcoming this year’s students.”

The programme goes beyond equipping students with culinary skills, and instead empowers them to cook, eat healthily, and consider their future career prospects more deeply, a task which can often be daunting during teenage years.

The 40 hours of learning time culminates in an exciting graduation meal prepared by the students, serving up dishes that allow their newly taught skills to be put into practice so they can dazzle their friends and families!

Jonathan Foot, Head of Apprenticeships and Early Careers, Compass Group UK & Ireland, said, “We are thrilled to be elevating our affiliation with Highbury College, and they are ideal partners for the Junior Chef Academy due to the range of successful apprenticeships they have on offer.

'We passionately believe in helping support the skills development of enthusiastic students who are aspiring to become the future new talent within the hospitality sector.”

Speaking of their apprenticeships, Craig Mincher, Director of Employer & Commercial Services, Highbury College, commented, “Highbury College has a long history of teaching the nation’s next top culinary talents. Our chefs have gone on to work all over the world in renowned restaurants.

'We’re proudly supporting Compass Group UK & Ireland in upskilling their staff while at the same time helping aspiring chefs take their next steps in the industry.”

Compass is proud to be industry leaders in the recruitment of young and upcoming culinary talent. Amongst the variety of approaches to encourage young people into apprenticeships, the recently relaunched Compass-created Junior Chef Academy – an introduction to catering, aimed at aspiring chefs aged 14 to 16 years – is the perfect stepping stone to becoming an apprentice.