Connect2Care’s sister company, HIT Training has launched a Level 2 Award in Professional Cookery in Health and Social Care. It is the first training provider to offer the new qualification and will be working in partnership with St Andrews Healthcare to deliver it to the initial cohort of learners.

The qualification, which is specifically for people who cater for patients and residents in a health and social care setting, has been designed by the Institute of Hospitality in association with the Hospital Caterers Association (HCA) and National Association of Care Catering (NACC). Aimed at developing awareness of potential diet and appetite issues, the qualification covers the importance of nutrition, hydration and maintaining health and wellbeing, it also offers specific training on the needs of dysphagia sufferers and how the condition impacts diets and menus.

Apprentices of all levels can benefit from the qualification by broadening their skill set with specialist understanding on dysphagia. The qualification also enables caterers to have greater versatility in the kitchen and give residents and patients more choice at meal times. What’s more, businesses can strengthen their offering by giving employees the right knowledge to prepare suitable meals with fresh ingredients, rather than relying on pre-made meals.

HIT Training has worked closely with development chefs at St Andrews Healthcare, to tailor the Level 2 Award programme to meet the charity’s precise needs.

Paul Mannering, Principal of HIT Training’s Chef Academy, said: “It’s fantastic to see an employer investing in its chefs and helping them to strengthen their repertoire with a specific discipline.

“Catering for those with dysphagia is a hugely important skill to have in a health and social care setting. Not least, having the additional skills to prepare dysphagic food in an attractive way, exploring creative use of textures to give patients and residents greater visual recognition and enjoyment of their food. 

“We’re immensely excited by this partnership with St Andrews. By tapping into the expertise of their existing chefs we have created a highly practical and relevant training programme specifically designed to meet the development needs of their business. We encourage others in this sector to follow St Andrews’ lead – training is a great way to strengthen a business’ offering by upskilling its employees and, in turn, benefit from the positive ripple effect this has on employee attraction and retention rates.”

Vicky Wheatley, Learning and Development Manager at St Andrews Healthcare, added: “Working in a mental health setting, we’re delighted to be able to offer our chefs vital knowledge and expertise around dysphagia, which isn’t available through most other training programmes. HIT Training has worked closely with us to understand our training requirements and offer us a bespoke programme. This qualification is invaluable to us; it will enable the business to provide a specialist catering service that gives our chefs the flexibility to stretch their creative muscles and prepare meals with fresh ingredients, with the confidence that they’re meeting the individual needs of our residents.” 


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