The School Food Trust (SFT) has launched a new ‘train the trainer' scheme aimed at helping school cooks share their skills with their team.
The charity has introduced the initiative in response to the demand for school cooks to deliver training on kitchen and cooking skills to less experienced staff, but who may not feel they have the confidence or the teaching skills they need.
The scheme follows a successful pilot in which cooks from four local authorities were given the chance to learn about training theory, different learning styles among teams, ways to present information and handle questions and feedback.
All the participating cooks rated the training as ‘very good' or ‘excellent', with their catering managers reporting that they had become more confident trainers.
The charity is now rolling out the training for other local authorities, with the opportunity to win free places on the first sessions in June.
Trainer Simon Thake said: "Our pilot scheme showed that there's real value in this, both for cooks themselves but also for their catering managers and local authorities.
"It makes so much sense for school cooks - who have all the practical knowledge you could ever need - to deliver training to other staff. But we have to support cooks with the skills to be great trainers. Ultimately, it's a really solid investment for any catering manager, and can be a big part of your commitment to developing your team."
The ‘school cooks train the trainer' scheme uses discussion, role-play, practical demonstrations and planning time, ending with the chance for cooks to test their own training demonstrations with the group.
All catering managers whose cooks attended the pilot scheme felt they were more confident to send their cooks to train staff in other schools as a result.
The training sessions will take place on 13 and 14 June, and 11 July. Local authorities that register interest before 7 May will be entered into a draw to win two free places at the sessions for cooks from their schools.
To register interest, contact Simon Thake on firstname.lastname@example.org. Cooks need to attend all three dates to complete the course, at a total cost of £300.
By Janie Manzoori-Stamford
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