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Aspiring street food stars “enter the Den” for negotiations

NCASS’ Mark Laurie joined directors at Villa Catering Club this week as participants in the scheme pitched their street food business ideas in a “Dragons Den” style pitch.

The project, which will be delivered in partnership with Digbeth Dining Club CIC, the Nationwide Caterers Association and South and City College Birmingham, will provide learners with real life work experience, advice on setting up their own food business and qualifications in catering and hospitality.

Delivered at Villa Park over a 16-week period, the programme, which has been funded by the Premier League and Professional Footballers’ Association Community Fund is available free of charge to people over the age of 16, will help to support the hospitality industry which has struggled as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

NCASS Director, Mark Laurie, commented:

 “This is a really exciting initiative as it aims to give all trainees the skills and work experience to be employable in a hospitality setting, but also to enable those with real ambition to create their own business and launch it with the support of the key street food operator in the region. It will also be an example or blue print that can be replicated across the UK, but on a local level, to begin to overcome the issues around staffing.

“Ultimately, we aim to enable people who have had limited access to opportunity so far in life, to put that behind them and build successful futures. Its a bit of a crash course, but we’re hopeful that the combination of kitchen training, business mentoring and work experience – with a qualification and possibly start-up capital at the end will be just the support needed. We’re only two weeks in and the trainees are doing great, with some quite exciting business ideas brewing as well.

“Its also really exciting to be working with different stakeholders to deliver the programme from the catering college to the Premier League, the community department at Aston Villa and DDC deserve huge praise for their hard work and vision to get the initiative up and running in a matter of months.”

To follow the journey of Villa Catering Club and to keep up-to-date with the initiative, visit the Villa Foundation website.


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