Parliament treated to academies students’ kitchen wizardry

Students of a pioneering academies programme took over the Scottish Parliament’s members’ restaurant for a night, serving festive meals to paying customers.

Four students from the Tourism and Hospitality Academy, part of the South East Scotland Academies Partnership (SESAP), had the opportunity to work in the kitchen and restaurant of the Parliament restaurant. They were joined by five Professional Cookery students from Edinburgh College.

Their takeover was set up to develop their skills, confidence and employability, as part of the academies programme.

SESAP is a partnership led by Queen Margaret University (QMU) and Edinburgh College in collaboration with City of Edinburgh Council, East Lothian Council, Midlothian Council, Scottish Borders Council, Borders College and industry partners.

The programme includes three academies – in Creative Industries; Tourism and Hospitality; and Health and Social Care. The academies offer senior school pupils in S5 and S6 experience of college, university and the workplace while in secondary education – highlighting career options and improving employability. They also provide young people with a real insight into Scotland’s key growth industries and improve their employability by developing specialist skills and knowledge.

During the service in the members’ restaurant, diners included a party from Edinburgh College and QMU, including the college’s Principal and Depute Principal, and QMU’s Deputy Principal.

The menu was devised, cooked and served by the students, supported by their Hospitality and Professional Cookery lecturers at the college, and college Professional Cookery students.

Tourism and Hospitality Academy coordinator Jennifer Bingham said: “It was fantastic to see our young academy students rise to the occasion. Opportunities like this encourage the students to stretch themselves, and the sense of achievement in being able to prepare and present a fabulous three-course meal in such grand surroundings boosts their confidence. It gives them a sense of pride in their own abilities and opens their eyes to wide possibilities within the hospitality industry.”

More on SESAP can be found on its website <<insert link to >>. Successful completion of the academies provides pupils with direct access to QMU or Edinburgh College and gives a competitive advantage for progression to employment.