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6th February 2024

Contract caterer Elior 'inspires' Nottingham College students

Written by: Edward Waddell
After backing the Choose Hospitality Pledge, an alliance encouraging ambassadors to promote the industry to young people, contract caterer Elior UK recently ran a careers workshop at Nottingham College.

Nottingham College received a pledge of support from Elior’s chef trainer Lucy Webb and its learning and development business partner Matt Jennings who were tasked with delivering a practical session for the students. The duo aimed to capture the student’s attention without the need for a lot of equipment.

Jennings kicked-off the session by giving the catering students an overview of Elior, including the various sectors it operates in and also explaining its commitment to diversity as well as youth. For many students, the idea of a career in hospitality and contract catering was entirely new.

He said: “We jumped at the opportunity to showcase the industry and Elior UK to students interested in careers in catering. I’ve always appreciated and enjoyed the chance to be in an industry that creates memories and experiences for people.

“It’s been inspiring for me personally to increase students’ visibility of hospitality careers and exactly where those experiences are made. Not to mention if we hadn’t taken part, the students would not have known about our company, and we would have missed out on potential future talent.”

In a short space of time and with minimal equipment, Webb thought it was best to workshop how she cooks steak as it is the most frequently asked question she receives.

The practical workshop showcased to students how a combination of passion and simplicity leads to amazing food. The simple steps – be that letting steaks come up to room temperature before cooking and seasoning the meat – will deliver great food.

The students really appreciated the visibility given to hospitality careers and the contract catering industry, as well as the tangible examples of people pursuing careers across different departments at Elior.

Webb added: “The reason I do my job is to see the passion and create those lightbulb moments, bringing confidence and new aspirations to chefs. The industry is  mistakenly classed as a low skill, low pay option but through the Choose Hospitality Pledge and opportunities like this, we can improve perceptions and increase visibility of hospitality careers.

“I got into the industry because I love providing good food. To me, no matter who you are or what you earn, you should still be able to go out and enjoy good food. I really enjoyed showing this to the students for myself.”

The students found the hands-on experience engaging, while quickly gaining confidence in their culinary skills. They were enlightened to hear that a career as a chef isn’t just about being confined to fast-paced hotels or high street restaurants, with other opportunities to carve out a career in kitchens available across many different sectors. For example, the kitchens in education and healthcare sectors were identified as quieter environments which may be better suited to some people.

Elior UK is supporting initiatives like the Choose Hospitality Pledge through its overarching Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy. As part of its commitment to diversity and youth, the duo are set to visit more colleges in the coming months, delivering workshops that help improve perceptions of hospitality careers and showcase the breadth of roles available.

Want to follow in Elior’s footsteps and give back to your profession by inspiring the next generation of talent? Then please register as a Choose Hospitality Pledge ambassador by visiting: