The first professional catering qualification for health and social care catering has been officially approved on the Ofqual Regulated Qualification Framework.

The ‘Level 2 Award in Professional Cookery in Health and Social Care’ was developed by the National Association of Care Catering (NACC), Hospital Caterers Association (HCA) and the awarding body of the Institute of Hospitality (IOH).

Designed for people who cater for patients and residents in a health and social care setting, organisations will be able to apply to become approved centres to offer the qualification from January 2018.

The Level 2 Award in Professional Cookery in Health and Social Care focuses on developing awareness of diet and appetite issues that may arise in this environment.
It is part of the IOH suite of hospitality industry qualifications and complements existing NVQ qualifications in professional cookery.

NACC chair, Neel Radia, launched the accredited qualification to delegates at the NACC Training & Development Forum today (5 October).

He said: “We’re thrilled to be able to announce to NACC, HCA and IOH members, and the wider care sector, that at long last there is a qualification that recognises and supports the specific knowledge and skills needed to cater for people in health and social care environments.

“The Level 2 Award in Professional Cookery in Health and Social Care is the result of hard work and a strong, committed collaboration between the three associations.
“The absence of a health and care catering qualification has been a long-term cause for concern and this is a huge step forward for our sector.

“Our chefs and caterers are incredibly talented and knowledgeable and this qualification gives them the official training and recognition they deserve, and as new recruits enter the sector it will ensure that we can continue to raise standards in care catering.”

Stewart McKenzie, national chair of the HCA, said: “The new qualification recognises the knowledge and skills required in the health and social care sectors, and importantly will complement the current recognised professional cookery qualifications available.
“Our chefs will now be in a position to obtain the recognition for the roles they perform in our hospitals and care establishments.”

Peter Ducker, IOH chief executive, added: “Caterers in hospitals and care homes now have their own rigorous and specific qualification for their unique training needs.
“May this encourage more people to choose health and care catering as a rewarding and highly-skilled profession and we would urge all organisations that work in the field of health and social care to make the new qualification available.”