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The Larder

17 November 2017

The Larder believe that food is a great tool to help achieve change in a young person’s life. They advocate everyone has the right to reach their full potential and recognise that some people need a bit more time and support to do that. The Larder has two key aims; to support young people experiencing multiple barriers into work in; and to get as many people in West Lothian cooking their own healthy food.

The Larder offers a range of cookery activities for adults, children and corporate customers, with profits being re-invested in training and employability programmes.

These programmes meet individual needs, teaching employability skills required to gain and sustain a job, alongside the basic practical skills required to work in the hospitality sector. Young people between the ages of 14 and 19 can participate, with priority being given to those with a family history of unemployment or who face multiple barriers to securing sustainable employment.

In early 2017, they received a grant of £45K over three years from one of our funding streams to help cover the cost of employing a full-time manager who would focus on the development of hospitality training opportunities and work experience for young people.

Since receiving the grant; the Larder have seen an increase in sales, delivered to more young people and increase the number of venues that they work from. In 2016/17 academic year we delivered training programmes to 60 young people in two venues up 20 from the previous year.

During the 2016/2017 academic year, a senior pupil called joined the Larder’s hospitality/occupational training programme. Despite having disengaged from school, he was keen to pursue a career where he could utilise his cooking skills. With agreement from the school he participated in the Larder’s training programme, one day a week as extended work experience. This provided him the opportunity to work alongside a qualified chef in the Larder’s bespoke training centre.

The training programme, covered preparation and cooking skills; washing, peeling, cutting, slicing, folding, whisking, grating and chopping, boiling, baking, grilling and shallow frying.

Once a month, he also participated in the delivery of our Pop up Café, learning how to work in a busy kitchen environment and develop front of house skills. At the end of the year he gained his REHIS Elementary Food & Hygiene Level 2 certificate.

On leaving school, he went on his dream job ‘a trainee chef’. Unfortunately this didn’t work out, he was employed on a zero hour contract and for a number of weeks he received no work or money, as a result his confidence and motivation suffered.

Skills Development Scotland referred him to the Larder joining their Employability Programme. Since re-joining our programme, he has displayed an excellent attendance and timekeeping record. His confidence and motivation has grown, and he has had the opportunity to work closely with our qualified chef. We have also helped him to create a CV, apply for jobs and prepare him for interviews.

He has since taken up a work placement with a local employer, settling in well and demonstrating an excellent attendance and time-keeping record.

He commented: “I didn’t enjoy school much and was given the opportunity to attend the Larder. I found the things I was doing easier to understand. Since leaving school, I have now started the Employability Fund Programme. It has helped me a lot and could help a lot of others. I have learned the benefits of time keeping. Coming in on time means I get paid. The skills I have learned will help me in life and work."

School’s Testimony: “The course provided by The Larder provides a great foundation for those interested in progressing into hospitality and catering as the young people have the opportunity to gain additional qualifications as they train and they are pitched at a level which will help them succeed. Attending occupational tasters whilst still at school provides the young people with a basic understanding of the world of work and an opportunity to interact with others who have a similar interest”.

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