The Academy of Food & Wine Service (AFWS) has pledged to raise the profile of front-of-house vocational qualifications as an alternative career choice for young adults.
The move comes after this week's media reports criticising some of the more practical exam subjects and coincides with the launch of the Academy's Annual Awards for Front of House Excellence.
"Not all children are naturally academic," said AFWS executive director Sophie Roberts-Brown. "The education system must continue to offer alternatives to young people who might not suit traditional academic subjects.
"Many industries, including the hospitality industry, desperately need people with practical skills and good communication skills. Surely we should be preparing young people for industries where real job vacancies exist and offering suitable qualifications for these jobs?"
The AFWS Awards of Excellence recognise young people showing exceptional skills and commitment to their career in front of house.
Categories include the L'Academie de Lanson Taste Award, the Virgin Rising Star Award and the Award for Excellence. Additionally there's the Savoy Educational Trust Phillip Thornton Award for students or junior members of staff, offering work experience at a Jumeirah hotel in London; and the Worshipful Company of Innholders' Sommelier Scholarship, giving the winner an educational visit with advanced practical experience of vineyard techniques and winery procedures.
This year also sees the launch of the Wine Service and Food Service Awards, as well as the new Diamond Award, presented to an individual chosen by the AFWS board who is an outstanding personality in the hospitality industry.
The deadline for entries to the AFWS Awards of Excellence is 21 September and applications can be made online at www.annualawards.co.uk.
An awards ceremony will take place at London's Vintners' Hall on 2 October.
By Kerstin Kühn
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