Health and care catering sector secures its first accredited professional catering qualification

The first professional catering qualification for health and social care catering – Level 2 Award in Professional Cookery in Health and Social Care – developed by the National Association of Care Catering (NACC), Hospital Caterers Association (HCA) and the awarding body of the Institute of Hospitality (IOH), has been officially approved on the Ofqual Regulated Qualification Framework.
Organisations will be able to apply to become approved centres to offer the qualification from January 2018.
The qualification is designed for people who cater for patients and residents in a health and social care setting and focuses on developing their awareness of diet and appetite issues that may arise in this environment.
The qualification tackles the important subjects of nutrition and hydration and food modification in health care settings. Learners will study the impact of nutrition and hydration on health and wellbeing, how it relates to population subgroups, and understand the roles of multidisciplinary teams, national standards and guidelines. They will also learn about the effect of dysphagia on patients and how to plan, prepare, cook and finish food for patients with the condition.
The Level 2 Award in Professional Cookery in Health and Social Care is part of the IOH suite of hospitality industry qualifications and complements existing NVQ qualifications in professional cookery.
Neel Radia, the national chair of the NACC officially launched the accredited qualification to delegates at the NACC Training & Development Forum on Thursday 5 October in his welcome address.
He said: “We’re thrilled to be able to announce to NACC, HCA and IOH members, and the wider care sector, that at long last there is a qualification that recognises and supports the specific knowledge and skills needed to cater for people in health and social care environments. The Level 2 Award in Professional Cookery in Health and Social Care is the result of hard work and a strong, committed collaboration between the three associations.
“The absence of a health and care catering qualification has been a long-term cause for concern and this is a huge step forward for our sector. Our chefs and caterers are incredibly talented and knowledgeable and this qualification gives them the official training and recognition they deserve, and as new recruits enter the sector it will ensure that we can continue to raise standards in care catering.”
Stewart McKenzie, national chair of the HCA, said: “We are delighted to see the fruits of our partnership with the NACC and IOH to develop a sector specific professional cookery qualification come to fruition, this is a significant development for health and social care catering. The new qualification recognises the knowledge and skills required in the health and social care sectors, and importantly will complement the current recognised professional cookery qualifications available. Our chefs will now be in a position to obtain the recognition for the roles they perform in our hospitals and care establishments.”
Peter Ducker, chief executive, Institute of Hospitality, said: “Caterers in hospitals and care homes now have their own rigorous and specific qualification for their unique training needs. May this encourage more people to choose health and care catering as a rewarding and highly-skilled profession and we would urge all organisations that work in the field of health and social care to make the new qualification available.”
For more information about the Level 2 Award in Professional Cookery in Health and Social Care qualification, education centres and learners should visit www.instituteofhospitality.org/qualifications/uk/level_2.

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