Letters

by * , Thursday 11th April 1996 00:00

QMH benefitS from double standards

I was interested to see the headlines in the national press, trumpeting the fact that Queens Moat Houses had only lost £2.5m last year. This company still has debts in excess of £1b and is relying on its banks to forgo part of their interest payments and its shareholders to go unrewarded.

This company was managed very badly and should have gone to the wall in the recession. However, it was supported by its bankers - presumably in order to protect the huge bank borrowings.

Conversely, many small hotels and restaurants have been forced into liquidation by their banks over very small amounts of money. What a pity such double standards operate.

JOHN PATTIN

Malvern Wells, Worcestershire.

Check details if working abroad

For those, like me, who are seriously considering leaving the UK to work abroad, experience has taught me that what you may feel are internationally recognised qualifications are not necessarily acceptable to the relevant immigration authorities.

Almost two years have passed since I was turned down for a permanent residency visa for Australia because my OND and HCIMA qualifications failed to achieve the required number of points in the "Qualification" section of the application form.

It was explained to me by the Australian immigration authorities that they did not accept the HCIMA as a formal academic qualification. This was despite the fact that I had studied for a year after gaining my OND in order to achieve this award. Indeed, the HCIMA kindly sent a letter to the immigration authority to confirm that this qualification was accepted by fellow professionals internationally and was also accepted as being equivalent to an HND at the very least by academic institutions in the UK.

As a result of the intransigence of the Australian immigration authority, I decided to study for a degree on a part-time basis. Even though I hope to graduate in July this year I must gain at least six months' post-qualification experience, despite the fact that I have over 10 years' management experience gained within public sector catering.

The message is therefore clear - check with the relevant immigration authorities before applying for permission to emigrate; and to students who are trying to decide whether to study for a degree or the HCIMA qualification, choose the degree. You can always apply for full membership of the HCIMA after having gained a couple of years' management experience.

DOMINIQUE OWEN

Leeds, West Yorkshire.

Seeking places for foreign students

An important part of hospitality and tourism college courses is the work placement. Wakefield College has partner colleges throughout Europe and this summer partner colleges from Finland and Spain have students looking for work in the industry, here in the UK.

If you can identify an opportunity where both yourself and the student can benefit, please contact me on 01924 810389 (or fax 01924 810363). The students have excellent language skills and good college training.

TIM PAVER

Wakefield College, West Yorkshire.

Agency fees explained

One question which is sometimes asked when a candidate first registers with a recruitment agency is: will this cost me anything?

To clarify this matter for those who are not aware of the law, or indeed for anyone who has ever been asked for payment by an agency, the 1973 Employment Agencies Act prohibits agencies from charging fees to workers for finding or seeking to find them jobs. There are certain exceptions regarding entertainers, actors, models and, in some instances, au-pairs.

Agencies can, however, charge for other services, such as typing, compiling CVs etc, but they cannot make these services a condition of registration. For example, an agency cannot say that in order for a candidate to register they must have an official agency CV and this will cost them a fixed fee for it to be completed.

If you are ever asked for payment you should advise the Department of Employment, which will investigate.

JAMES TUCKER

Westbourne, Bournemouth.

Help needed for military display

I am preparing a display on military hospital food from the 1850s to the present day. I would welcome memories from cooks or catering staff who may have served at Netley Hospital at Southampton, Haslar Hospital, Portsmouth, or the recently closed Cambridge Military Hospital at Aldershot.

As well as base hospitals, I would also welcome memories from any cooks who may have served in field hospitals during World War II, the Gulf War or the conflict in the former Yugoslavia.

PATRICK KIRKBY,

The Park Centre,

Netley Abbey, Southampton, SO31 5GA.

Porstmouth Guildhall reunion

WE are planning a large reunion at Portsmouth Guildhall on the evening of Thursday 25 April, and hope that many of the students who attended catering courses over the past 40 years will attend. Anyone interested can get further details from me on 01983 882697.

FM WATTS

Little Cedars,

Main Roan, Havenstreet, Isle of Wight, PO33 4DL.

Classic Cricket recreated

A recreation of a cricket match, held originally in 1804, is taking place in August this year, as part of a new horticultural and country crafts show. To be held in Norman Park, Bromley, Kent, it requires research into the rules, dress and equipment needed to be authentic.

I am seeking information on the food and its preparation that might have been required to produce the typical cricketers' tea of the time. Can anyone help?

PETER ASHWORTH

154 Hayes Lane,

Hayes, Bromley, Kent BR2 9EL.

Thanet technical college reunion

A reunion is planned this year for former catering students of Thanet Technical College who did OND 1/2A during the years 1975-77.

If you are a former student and would like to meet up again, please contact me at the address below.

Sarah Huxford

19 Camellia Way,

Wokingham, Berkshire RG41 3NB.

Tel: 01734 789516.

Huddersfield's 20-year celebration

In 1996 the University of Huddersfield (previously Huddersfield Polytechnic) celebrates 20 years of running its BA Hotel and Catering Administration/Business degree. To mark the occasion, a grand reunion of graduates and past course lecturers will take place at Huddersfield over the weekend of 9 and 10 November 1996. For further information of the event please contact me on 01484 472382 or at the address below.

STEPHEN BALL

Department of Food, Nutrition and Hospitality Management,

The University of Huddersfield,

Queensgate, Huddersfield, HD1 3DH.


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