Culinary Arts Heat at Newcastle College
Hospitality Students Compete in NCG Skills Culinary Arts Heat at Newcastle College

Member Article

Employer Led Skills Competition Launched for Newcastle College Students

Newcastle College students have been busy showcasing their skills to a panel of employer judges in order to win a place at a national competition.

NCG (the national group of colleges that Newcastle College belongs to) has launched NCG Skills - its first inter-college skills competition. The annual event is designed to offer students the opportunity to strengthen their skills and hands-on experience, which the college says is more vital than ever for students and apprentices in areas hit by closures from the pandemic, such as hairdressing and hospitality.

The first round of the competition involved regional college heats, and learners from courses including bricklaying, plumbing, hospitality and hairdressing competed against their classmates as they demonstrated their skills and knowledge to a panel of experts.

Owen Connell is a Level 2 Apprentice Commis Chef at Trakol restaurant in Gateshead, which is currently closed due to the national lockdown. In the first Culinary Arts heat at Newcastle College, Owen was given three hours to produce three portions of three separate dishes, all while under the scrutiny of his tutors and judges. He impressed them enough to make it to the live final, where he will compete against hospitality learners from all participating NCG colleges.

He said: “My experience of NCG Skills was very positive. I enjoyed learning how to make the dishes and working in a competitive environment for the first time. The tutors were helpful and overall I really enjoyed it, so I’m looking forward to the next stages of the competition.”

Scott Bullock, Principal of Newcastle College, commented: “Our vision at Newcastle College is to develop the skills and talents of our students to succeed in modern enterprise and make a positive contribution to the prosperity of the North East. Apprenticeships and skills training are integral to the future of our workforce and competitions such as World Skills allow our students to share their skills, knowledge and expertise, while enhancing their employability prospects.

“Employer engagement and industry experience is at the heart of the vocational training that we offer, and at a time when many businesses are closed and events and national competitions haven’t been able to go ahead, we’ve been lucky to be part of a national group that can work together to offer an alternative, hands-on experience for our students in the form of NCG Skills.

“The skill and talent demonstrated in the first rounds of the competition has been impressive and I know that our students are looking forward to the opportunity to compete against their peers from across the country.”

NCG Skills has been launched with funding from the Crescent Publishing Consortium and the support of employer partners such as L’Oréal and NOCN, who have acted as sponsors and judges. It is hoped that the competition will encourage and support its students to prepare and apply for bigger events such as World Skills UK, where Newcastle College students have achieved gold medals and podium finishes in recent years.

Thomas Burton, NOCN’s Director of Apprenticeships, who will be judging the Culinary Arts final, commented:

“During my early career, I had opportunities to compete in both the Young Chef/Young Waiter competition and the Craft Guild for Chefs, Young National Chef of the Year. Both of these skills competitions allowed me to develop and focus my abilities and pit my standards against some of the countries very best hospitality talent. Supporting the next generation of vocational talent is close to my heart and this opportunity presents NOCN Group as an educational charity a great way of connecting with the workforce of the future”.

NCG’s Executive Principal North and Strategic Lead for Apprenticeships, Grant Glendinning commented: “We are thrilled to have the support of NOCN as we launch our inaugural NCG Skills competition.

“Apprenticeships are key to developing a skilled workforce that is fit for purpose and at NCG we strive to ensure that enterprise, engagement and employability are at the centre of every learner experience.

“This competition will offer apprentices across all NCG colleges an opportunity to develop and share their skills and knowledge with employers and industry supporters like NOCN. This will not only enhance their learning experience but their employability prospects too, which is why this support is so invaluable.”

The final of NCG Skills was intended to be held during National Apprenticeship Week, but has been postponed until May 2021 due to the current lockdown.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Charlotte Horsfield .

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