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Compass Cymru launches Junior Chef Academy in Wales

Compass chef, Andrew Draper, with pupils taking part in this year's Junior Chef Academy

Compass Cymru is hosting the second annual Junior Chef Academy in Wales, which will take place this year at Cardiff West Community High School.

Over 10 weeks, Compass Cymru will deliver culinary masterclasses for 12 pupils in Year 10, which will give them invaluable hands-on experience to learn the skills needed to become a chef and an understanding of the career opportunities available in the hospitality industry.

The course, which is sponsored by Brakes, is running in partnership with Cardiff Commitment, Cardiff and Vale College, and Cardiff West Community High School. It aligns with Cardiff Commitment’s Experiences of Work priority, which secures meaningful careers and work-related experiences for young people. Pupils will attend after school hours on weekdays at Cardiff West Community High School and Cardiff and Vale College, with the course culminating in a fantastic showcase event held at Cardiff City Stadium for friends and families of the pupils.

A team of chefs from Compass Cymru sites across the country will first share key skills, such as knife handling and food safety, before focusing on learning and developing two dishes each week around a theme, including salads and healthy eating, bread and pizza, vegetables and chicken, and a meat masterclass. The course will also promote local sourcing, sustainability, nutrition, good hygiene, and healthy eating practices.

Jane Byrd, Managing Director of Compass Cymru, said: “This course gives students a real understanding of the skills needed to become a chef and the wide range of opportunities available in the hospitality industry. Our aim is to encourage the next generation of the industry in Wales, and on top of that, we need to inspire young people to make healthier, more sustainable food choices. We had amazing engagement during our first Junior Chef Academy in Wales last year, with one pupil taking on a culinary apprenticeship afterwards, so we are hopeful this year’s course will create the same spark of excitement.”

Abbie Marks, Project Manager at Cardiff Commitment, said: “We are proud to partner with Compass Cymru, Cardiff and Vale College, and Cardiff West Community High School to facilitate the Junior Chef Academy. Our aim is to raise pupils’ ambitions and develop the skills they need for the world of work so they can fulfil their potential and contribute to the economic growth of our city.

“As part of the wider hospitality project currently running at Cardiff West Community High School, pupils have already helped to organise and cater a hospitality showcase event and with the skills they will develop through the Junior Chef Academy and their curriculum, they will aim to support future school and Cardiff Commitment events with their new expertise.”

Jonathan Foot, Head of Apprenticeships and Early Careers at Compass UK & Ireland, said: “Compass is dedicated to enriching the learning of future talent and existing employees through our extensive apprenticeships and career pathway programmes. Using our network of experienced chefs, they will share their insight and expertise during a crucial time in the pupils’ development. The Junior Chef Academy aims to fuel and inspire the next generation of chefs, whilst also providing education on local, sustainable, nutritious food.”

Sharon James-Evans, Principal at Cardiff and Vale College, said: “Programmes like the Junior Chef Academy are so important for opening up career pathways to young people who don’t always know all the possibilities available to them. At CAVC we are passionate about supporting this and delighted to host the programme in our facilities and support with some of our expert team from our hospitality and catering department to show the pupils what a career in hospitality might look like for them, and hopefully inspire them to consider it for their future.”