University College Birmingham (UCB) has launched a training hub for food and hospitality professionals in partnership with the NEC Group.
The Food and Hospitality Hub @UCB will give workers the chance to gain new practical and business skills, with access to the university's teaching staff and the resources already used by students.
This will include food safety and allergens training, CV writing, skills assessment and profiling guidance, and health and wellbeing advice, as well as university services such as the entrepreneur-focused Enterprise Hive and BSEEN, the Birmingham Skills for Enterprise and Employability Network.
The new hub builds on the university signing up to support the recovery of the hospitality sector in preparation for the Coventry City of Culture celebrations in May, as well as delivering online training to around 500 staff across the city and the region, an initiative funded by West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).
Kali Davidson, head of UCB's College of Food, said: "The global pandemic has had a devastating impact upon the food and hospitality sector within the region, a sector which is a significant part of the West Midlands economy and contributes to the vibrant and diverse culture within the city of Birmingham.
"With recent reports indicating that over 20,000 small businesses may be lost in the West Midlands because of the pandemic, and the decimated hospitality sector representing a large part of this, we felt we could provide a tangible support system for those who have lost their jobs or need to develop new skills.
"Working closely with employers such as the NEC Group, who are looking for support for frontline workers, and the West Midlands Federation of Small Businesses, we will be able to support the recovery and regeneration of the sector."
Lewis Walker, head of higher education at Birmingham College of Food, added: "We are really proud to be at the heart of the West Midlands hospitality sector, supporting local professionals, providing a range of training, resources and guidance, and encourage the regeneration of this exciting, diverse and crucially important industry within our city.
"It will also give our students opportunities to work with the sectors they are training to be employed in and get involved with the development of the hub itself."
The new hub will initially be run virtually, with plans for face-to-face sessions at the university's kitchens and in workplaces in the region.