May 2019

College of Food and The Atrium receive highest praise to retain gold accreditations

Read time: approx 4 mins

One of the UK’s top quality assurance organisations has described University College Birmingham as “one of the best, if not the best, catering colleges in the UK” in its assessment for two of the highest awards for colleges.

The facilities were just one ‘wow’ factor that contributed to UCB retaining its People 1st Gold accreditation for delivering excellent hospitality training and qualifications and working well with employers. UCB also retained its Highly Commended AA College Rosette for The Atrium restaurant.

Colleges need to score over 90 percent to earn the accreditations - UCB’s overall score was 98.5 percent. As part of this, UCB has grown in its status as a Centre of Excellence, now covering the areas of food and beverage service, patisserie and confectionery, fish and shellfish and butchery and game.

Assessor Andy Doyle praised the “passion” of both students and lecturers and the “admirable” engagement and support of local hotels and restaurants when it came to work placements and job opportunities for students on courses within UCB’s College of Food.

He said: “This is the first time I have undertaken UCB’s visit and it is apparent from the day why they are recognised as one of the best, if not the best, catering colleges in the UK.

“The resources are the best I have seen. A wide range of kitchens, equipment and experience ensures that learners are unlikely to encounter something new when they enter the industry – to a certain extent, they are spoilt. This includes the basement area where learners experience butchery and fishmongery, something not many colleges are able to provide due to cost and resource.

“The various labs and equipment available enable learners to understand the use of food and food development further and certainly help to show another strand of the industry that would be open to them. Very impressed with the application designed by UCB for their learners to use on their mobile devices that supports all their learning aims and outcomes.”

He described UCB students cooking and serving in The Atrium as “a confident team of learners” who are offered “a range of opportunities to experience the diversity available in the industry through work placements, apprenticeships, events and competitions”.

UCB’s recent competitive success includes making the forthcoming 2019 Nestle Professional Toque d’Or finals as a four-time winner, attaining third place at the Young Chef Olympiad in India, representing England against 55 other countries from all corners of the world, as well as UCB students and alumni from the English National Junior Team scooping double silver in the Culinary World Cup.

“UCB has a great reputation and record in competitions, not only for learners, but also staff, and allocates mentors from either the faculty or industry to support and mentor students,” said Andy.

The wide range of employers UCB works with to support students was also highlighted. These include hotel chains such as Hyatt Regency and catering companies such as Amadeus through to Michelin-starred restaurants including Carters of Moseley, headed by UCB graduate Brad Carter.

They also include conference venues including Edgbaston Cricket Ground, manufacturers such as Greggs of the Midlands bakery, major supermarkets including Asda and even department stores such as John Lewis.

The overall professional presentation and upkeep of The Atrium and The Brasserie restaurants and the University’s Cakes and Bakes shop, which sells student-made sweet and savoury products, were also held up as having the ‘wow’ factor in the assessment.

Neil Rippington, Dean of the College of Food said: “The accreditation process reflects the diverse and excellent quality work we do within the College of Food. The achievements of the students and staff drive the continuous ambition to be at the forefront of culinary and hospitality education and training in the UK. To achieve a near perfect score was a fantastic achievement, of which I am very proud and grateful to all concerned for their contributions."

Find out more about our range of courses within the College of Food here.

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