On Thursday 14 June, Westminster Kingsway College hosted a visit by Betsy DeVos, the U.S. Secretary of Education, where she learned about the college’s highly regarded school of hospitality and culinary arts, and its vital role in preparing apprentice students for a successful career in the industry.
Secretary DeVos visited WestKing’s Victoria campus as part of her fact-finding tour to Europe, where she explored apprenticeship programmes in Switzerland, the Netherlands and the UK. Westminster Kingsway was the only college that Secretary DeVos visited during the UK leg of her tour.
During her visit, Secretary DeVos heard from Andy Wilson (Chef Executive of the Capital City College Group – of which Westminster Kingsway College is part), Gary Hunter (Vice-Principal of Westminster Kingsway College) and Raj Kakaiya (Deputy Director of the Capital City College Group’s specialist apprenticeships arm, Capital City College Training). She also had a tour of the college’s teaching kitchens – where she had the opportunity to make bread in the bakery and chocolate in our chocolate lab, as well as meeting staff and students.
Students at Westminster Kingsway’s Victoria site learn their culinary skills under the watchful eye of the college’s chef lecturers and work in the college’s kitchens, creating and serving meals for paying customers in the college’s two public restaurants – the Brasserie and the Escoffier Room. This realistic learning environment prepares students before they embark on their careers in the hospitality and culinary arts industry.
Following her visit, Secretary DeVos said: “In the United States, we are working to make apprenticeships more common and available in more fields. It was exciting to see firsthand how Westminster Kingsway is providing strong options to students, and they are clearly benefiting from this approach.”
Andy Wilson, Chief Executive of the Capital City College Group – hosted the visit. He said: “We are very proud of our apprenticeship provision across the Group, as well as our school of hospitality and culinary arts in Victoria, and were honoured to show Secretary DeVos our college and facilities. We hope it has proved a useful introduction to our work and has inspired her as she looks to improve educational outcomes for students in the USA.”