£3m hospitality and catering facilities open at City of Oxford College

05 November 2021 by
£3m hospitality and catering facilities open at City of Oxford College

Activate Learning opened new £3m hospitality and catering facilities at its City of Oxford College campus yesterday (4 November).

The facilities were developed thanks to £2.17m in funding secured through the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) via the government's Local Growth Fund.

The new facilities include state-of-the-art training kitchens, featuring industry-standard equipment that was identified in partnership with the Fat Duck Group.

Additional building work was carried out to develop a refectory and student area for the college, creating a new heart to the city centre campus, paid for by Activate Learning.

Tourism minister Nigel Huddleston officially opened the new facilities. He said: "I was delighted to open Activate Learning's brand-new hospitality and catering facilities at City of Oxford College and see first-hand the fantastic opportunities that await the next generation in these sectors.

"Tourism and hospitality make vital contributions to our economy and we need to make sure we have a strong pipeline of talent coming through to help build back better for the future."

Sally Dicketts, chief executive of Activate Learning said: "We have a long track record of providing the hospitality and catering sector with amazing talent from here at City of Oxford College and these new facilities will allow this brilliant work to continue for years to come.

"This is a fantastic example of how further education can work with central government to develop a strategic response to a long-term need for the local economy.

"These ultra-modern, state-of-the-art training spaces will ensure students have real-life, practical experience of working in the sort of kitchens they will expect to find when they go out into the workplace.

"They will also allow us to strengthen and build on the outstanding relationships we have with local employers, by offering more opportunities for them to come into these facilities and offer practical demonstrations and skills workshops."

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, tourism supported 10% of all employment in Oxfordshire and contributed £2.17b to the local economy and nationally, was worth £100.8b.

Nancy Buckley, director of career pathways at Activate Learning, said: "We work with hundreds of employers in the hospitality and catering sector across the Thames Valley and we know that people are desperate for good staff.

"Here in Oxford the situation is no different. There are exciting opportunities out there for people with the right skills and we've worked hard to develop a curriculum that delivers this, and now we have amazing facilities for students to work in too."

Nigel Tipple, chief executive of OxLEP, added: "We were delighted to secure such a significant level of investment for this project, leading to the development of a state-of-the-art facility that will undoubtedly play a major role in inspiring young people from across Oxfordshire to discover opportunities within the hospitality sector.

"As we are all aware, the pandemic created unprecedented challenges for the leisure, tourism and hospitality industry – therefore, the opening of this new, multi-million pound suite will underpin a vibrant sector that is not just vital to our own economy, but the UK economy too, creating a pipeline of major talent for many years to come."

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