Independent research published recently*, highlights that dining out and food on the move in the UK has seen considerable growth in recent years and as a result, there has been a decline in home cooking by 54% in the last 30 years. The same survey also found that young people don’t have the skills to cook a week’s worth of meals; and one in four has no interest in cooking at all. A further study** also revealed that 97% of school pupils in the UK had written off a career in hospitality, with 35% unaware that hospitality could offer career progression.
These facts have provided positive support at a time when Cumbrian business, Lake District Hotels Ltd. reveal the fruits of their labour following the cumulation of 18 months and £30,000 of fundraising.
After hearing of the enormous pressure that Keswick Secondary School was under following years of successive funding cuts, Lake District Hotels Ltd’s Director Kit Graves, came up with a master plan to improve the food technology facilities within the school.
The decision was made to redevelop the classroom facilities, after a visit to the school in early 2018 where it was decided that the existing technology kitchen, was so out of touch with today’s teaching kitchens, that it required a complete refit. Kit’s idea to turn the room into a TV style Bake-off kitchen was agreed, which then followed with 18 months of fundraising activities from Lake District Hotels Ltd, to raise the required amount of £30,000.
Kit Graves commented, “From the initial idea, the project became much bigger than any of us had anticipated, but with a lot of hard work and determination we got there in the end. I would like to thank everyone that was involved in the project, with a special thank you to all the individuals and Cumbrian businesses who made generous donations – Lake District Hotels Ltd, Underscar Manor, Thomas Armstrong Group, Keswick Rotary Club, Jennings Brewery, Hyde Harrington Chartered Surveyors, Caterite Food & Wineservice Ltd, Pioneer Foodservice, Sealy, Aljacks DES Ltd, Unwin Jones, Ribble Farm Fare, Heatons Office Solutions and Howdens Joinery.”
Simon Jackson, Head Teacher commented, “Both staff and students have been excited to see the refurbished Food Technology kitchen at the start of a new academic year. This fantastic teaching space, provided through the amazing support of the Lake District Hotels group, will encourage more children to learn about cooking and understand the importance of a good diet. The design captures the essence of the Great British Bake Off and I’m sure will inspire more students to seriously consider a career in catering and hospitality in the future.”
Both Lake District Hotels and Keswick School have made it clear that the kitchen development is just the beginning of their working relationship together, with future plans for Lake District Hotels talented chefs to provide cooking demonstrations within the school, as well as introducing students into work experience roles, and apprenticeships within the hotel group.
Back in March 2018, Lake District Hotels launched their ‘Hotel Academy’ apprenticeship program, to help attract new talented employees, with the aim to earn their loyalty and to bring their skills in line with modern workplace standards, as well as offering progression from Commis Chef, to Chef de Partie, to Sous Chef, to one day become our future Head Chefs.
The academy apprenticeship is open to any age group, offers a competitive salary, and an abundance of incentives, from your first knife set and full set of chef’s whites, £1,000 bonus on completion of training, one night’s dinner, bed and breakfast for 2 in one of our seven hotels, 2 weeks work experience abroad in Malta or Austria and much more.
To apply for a place in the ‘Hotel Academy’, or for further information contact [email protected]