A "food and enterprise college" to train young people in key hospitality skills has been set up by Bromley College, in Bromley, south east London.
The move aims to give students aged 14-19 alternative options to the usual academic school route post-age 16, and give them advice on the other routes available.
This may include showing them a more vocational pathway towards a career in hospitality, and helping them access schemes such as Apprenticeships, technical college places, workplace experience, and mentoring by professionals.
The college is supported in its move by top names such as Silvano Giraldin (formerly of Le Gavroche), Anna Hanson MBE, Simon King (The Fat Duck), Rob McLeary (The Modern Pantry) and Allan Pickett (Plateau Restaurant & Bar).
It has also been praised by the charity Springboard Bromley, as well as companies such as D&D London, Hyatt Regency, Dorchester Group, Craft Guild of Chefs, People 1st, the Hospitality Guild, Russums, and Open Table.
The news comes amid reports suggesting that many parents and careers advisors feel obliged to advise students to stay on at school despite it not being the students' best option.
Research published in November 2012 by the Association of Colleges found that nearly half of UK school teachers admitted to giving "bad advice" when it came to post-16 options.
Similarly, just last week, a report from vocational learning champion The Edge Foundation showed that only 27% of UK parents thought vocational training was worthwhile, and only 35% of respondents who went into vocational training felt supported to do so by their school.
Sam Parrett, principal of Bromley College, said: "The hospitality sector requires a highly skilled workforce for the future and I am pleased that Bromley College is responding to this need."
Speaking about last week's report, Allan Pickett, head chef at Plateau Restaurant & Bar, and supporter of Bromley College, told Caterer and Hotelkeeper: "I think students are discouraged from the vocational route because of the advice careers services are giving them at school. It makes me angry. If a student says, ‘I want to be a cook', they're discouraged. I don't think it's right."