Accrington and Rossendale College in Lancashire has discontinued its hospitality and catering course due to a lack of interest in its in-house offering.
The course, which included work in the site's public facing restaurant Roots, will be abandoned in the upcoming academic year. The decision was made after the merging of two college boards in the region, the members of which considered factors including the cost of upkeep and the retention of students.
The closure of the course comes as the skills shortage continues to grip catering and hospitality, with fewer trained employees entering the workforce, placing strain on restaurants, hotels, bar and foodservice operations as they attempt to fill vacancies.
However the college's work-based provisions will continue, with youth in the area showing a strong interest in apprenticeships.
Principal of Accrington and Rossendale College Amanda Melton said: "It is with regret that we are no longer able to continue our hospitality and catering vocational provision. Student recruitment in the hospitality and catering department has seen a downward trend over the last few years, not only at ARC, but nationally as well. More students are opting for work-based provision, instead of full-time programmes, and as such our apprenticeship catering provision will remain the same.
"To maintain a stable and secure financial position for the college, we need to regularly review the provision we offer to ensure that it remains financially viable. A number of factors are considered including student recruitment, retention and destinations in work, as well as the cost of offering the provision such as facilities and staffing.
"The staff affected by these proposals have been briefed and remain a priority to us over the coming weeks, and we will remain committed to helping our current students complete their studies successfully and progress on to positive destinations. The three trade unions are aware of the situation and will also be supporting their affected members."Get The Caterer every week on your smartphone, tablet, or even in good old-fashioned hard copy (or all three!).