A school and a financial planner have combined forces to create a new project which will serve pupils well for the future.
Larbert High is teaming up with Falkirk-based A.R.D. Consultancy to set up a School of Hospitality initiative designed to bolster students’ practical, planning and organisational skills.
The three-year programme will allow youngsters to experience workshops with a national hotel group, local food manufacturers and Forth Valley College to gain an insight into contemporary food issues, nutrition and food choice.
Pupils will also have the opportunity to take part in product development competitions and build their hosting skills at in-school events by catering for customers, many of whom will be A.R.D. clients.
Those who wish to pursue a career in hospitality will be able to study for a National Progression Award in professional cookery in S4 and S5.
Should a student wish to follow a route into the food and nutrition industry, there is also the option of studying health and food technology at the National 5 or Higher levels.
As well as providing students with access to its contacts, A.R.D. has also presented the 60 pupils taking part in the project with personalised aprons.
Brian Townsend, principal teacher of health and wellbeing at Larbert High, said: “The School of Hospitality within Larbert High School has offered our youngsters an opportunity to develop their practical culinary skills while raising awareness of possible careers within the hospitality sector.
“We are excited to be working in collaboration with A.R.D. Consultancy and the possibilities this partnership will bring.”
Andrew Auld, Larbert High depute headteacher, added: “Having industry partners, like A.R.D Consultancy, investing time and resources into enhancing and supporting pupil experience acts as a catalyst to inspire pupils.
“Fantastic partnerships like this help us to expose pupils to a wide range of industry links and potential employment opportunities beyond school.
“We are excited to continue to work with A.R.D. and further develop the partnership.”
Elizabeth Kirk, School of Hospitality teacher at Larbert High, said: “It’s fantastic as a teacher to be able to have the time to provide our young people with a range of food experiences that I hope will inspire future career choices and, most importantly, equip them with the food skills to ensure that they can look after themselves and their families in the future.
“I believe very strongly that the ability to cook and understand our food environment can contribute to a healthier society in Scotland.”
A.R.D. Consultancy has been trading for more than 20 years and has previously worked in partnership with Braes High, Falkirk High and Syngenta Juveniles Football Club in Grangemouth, among other organisations.
Andrew Dawkins, director of A.R.D. Consultancy, said: “We are very proud to be associated with Larbert High and their newly established School of Hospitality.
“We were very impressed with the opportunities associated with the programme, specifically exposing the students to a wide range of jobs and possible career pathways in the future.
“We understand the importance of skills development as a primary means of enabling young people to make a smooth transition to work when the time comes. This seemed like a golden opportunity for us to do our little bit for the future of the local community.”