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HTT funded training gives NZChefs judging a boost

The Hospitality Training Trust (HTT) was formed in 2011 as a charitable trust, with its purpose to “promote excellence in training in the New Zealand hospitality sector”.

Each year HTT provides grants to associations, companies or individuals for projects or ideas that will further the aims and criteria of the Trust around building excellence across the hospitality sector.

Last year, HTT received a record number of applications, indicating a pleasing level of engagement with the Trust from the industry. A total of $125,229.00 was granted to 16 applicants in the 2016 funding round.

HTT chair, Carol Stigley said that Trustees were delighted to receive 25 applications, the highest number since the Trust began in 2011. Among the carefully selected recipients was Otago Polytechnic Food Design Institute, which received $7,000 towards scholarships for 15 high school hospitality students to attend the International Food Design Conference and Studio.

Other applications of funds included $2,400 to the New Zealand Sommelier and Wine Professionals Association, to allow competitors to travel to Auckland to compete in the NZ Sommelier and Junior Sommelier Wine Professional Competitions.

Hospitality New Zealand was awarded $5,430 to develop and implement online training modules for health and safety in hospitality and $7,245 towards researching and developing a pilot seminar on creating a suc-cessful and cohesive team culture in the workplace.

It’s that time of year again, and HTT is on the hunt for eligible projects that will help build excellence in hospitality training.

Carol Stigley, the Trust’s chair, says “The capital fund came to the Trust from the former ITO for hospitality, HSI.   We pay out half of our investment income each year to applicants we think have a compelling and interesting case – projects that have the potential to make a real difference to the sector”.

“The Trust is about promoting excellence in training along with associated research” she said.  “We are on the hunt for projects that will build excellence across the sector.”

HTT has issued grants to private teaching schools, polytechnics, and various hospitality industry associations, and are always on the lookout for new and innovative ideas to support.

Those grants have helped train secondary school hospitality students in the holidays, burgeoning sommeliers, holiday park managers, staff dealing with food allergies, young chefs attending over-seas competitions, secondary school teachers upskilling on curriculum changes in cooking units, researchers assessing how the hospitality industry is perceived by its customers, to mention a few.

“Not all applications make the cut”, reported Ms Stigley. “The applications need to be well thought out, have potential to make a difference, but also be out of the ‘business as usual’ category.”  Past grants have ranged from $7,000 to $25,000.

AMGNZ-HR-HTT-3web-300x169 HTT funded training gives NZChefs judging a boost
Sandwich-making café style at an NZChefs judging event. Photos: NZChefs Photos: NZChefs

HTT funded training gives NZChefs judging a boost

In her role as chief judge for the 2015 and 2016 New Zealand Chefs Salon, Janine Quaid, director of Artisan Consulting identified a large number of partially completed candidates signed up to the judging qualifications US21855 and US21856.

With the competition already struggling to find suitably qualified judges, Ms Quaid knew something had to be done to improve access to training. With some “outstanding candidates” waiting in the wings, possibly stalled due to funding, Ms Quaid contacted the Hospitality Training Trust to apply on behalf of the budding competition officials, and the competition itself.

“I knew it would be of great benefit, not only to the individual candidate working towards completing their qualifications, but also to the competition, both regionally and nationally”.

The application for $13,000 was successful and the funds were applied to the project.

“Firstly a dedicated person was tasked with contacting and updating the status of all 248 candidates in the process of finishing US21855 or US21856; this was a huge undertaking”.

In order to meet their assessment requirements, candidates were required to complete their theory books and be observed judging at an NZChefs’ accredited judging event. “With only three front of house assessors and seven cookery assessors currently registered nationwide, funding was utilised to allow three senior judges available to travel to the regional competitions around NZ, deliver the judging introduction seminars, refresher seminars, conduct assessment interviews, give advice to competitors, coaches, trainers and employers regarding new judging formats and the new competition and, where possible, compete assessments during the regional competitions. All time given by these industry professionals was donated”, Ms Quaid told AMG.

The funding also facilitated a complete rewrite of the Guidelines for Culinary Arts and Restaurant Service Competitions, bringing these into line with WorldChefs’ judging procedures and current practices. “This was a project that took approximately four months and hundreds of hours.”

The scope of the project’s effect has been far-reaching and has provided multi-faceted benefits to the industry. “The completion of the Guidelines for Culinary Arts and Restaurant Service Competitions has had a major impact as a resource tool not only for those undertaking the judging qualifications, but also for those preparing to compete at all levels.”

Ms Quaid confirmed that funding is a significant challenge in hospitality industry training. “Given the low remuneration levels across the board in hospitality, employees are sometimes not prepared or able to commit to upskilling opportunities available”, she explained. She also observed that “employers also seem reluctant to engage in training or upskilling due to cost, despite the industry requiring constant compliance or necessary training in areas to upskill”.

Ms Quaid affirmed that “having a trio of senior judges attend regional events in 2016 and assess in situ where possible” was invaluable. “This made it possible to hold refresher and introduction seminars and generally be available to discuss the judging qualifications with candidates.  This has ensured the on-going credibility and industry relevance of these qualifications, and demonstrated the Culinary Committee’s support to those undertaking this upskilling”, she concluded. 


Suzy Barry

Suzy Barry is the editor of Accom Management Guide, New Zealand. She brings over a decade of editing and journalism to the title, and has experience in wellness tourism.

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