The UK's first training course for care home caterers has been hailed as a positive step by the industry.
Anchor Homes, which runs 103 of the country's 17,000 homes, will next month launch its Cater Craft programme to replace the Food Preparation NVQ that its staff currently take.
In a statement, a company spokeswoman said: "Although Anchor recognised an NVQ represented high standards of food preparation, it did not fully equip its chefs with the specific skills needed for care home catering."
The course, which will cost Anchor £64 per student, consists of 220 training hours. The UK's fifth largest care home provider claims it is the equivalent of a BTEC and in contrast to the NVQ, it is entirely practical.
MP Paul Burstow, who has tabled a private members bill calling for minimum nutritional standards in care homes, said: "This is a welcome move by Anchor and an acknowledgement of the urgent need for an NVQ level 2 course to be available."
Derek Johnson, vice-chairman of the National Association of Care Caterers, echoed Burstow's calls. "It will hopefully snowball and make the Government see that a centrally-run course is needed"
By Tom Bill
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