DISABLED people will be able to train for HND and BA hospitality courses in specially adapted kitchens from next month, following a £100,000 refit at Thames Valley University.
The kitchens, at the university's site in Ealing, west London, have been refurbished with the aid of £100,000 raised by the disability charity SOS. They have been named the Sutcliffe SOS Kitchens, owing to a £70,000 donation from Sutcliffe Catering South-East.
A second project has now begun to raise a further £70,000 to refurbish the kitchens at the university's Slough campus in Berkshire. Those kitchens are intended to be ready by September 1995.
Four places are available on courses starting next term, and Ealing Disablement Association is currently recruiting prospective students. A further four places will be available at the Slough campus.
SOS project manager Sally Thomas told Caterer two-thirds of people with disabilities of working age were unemployed, but many were as suitable as able-bodied people to fill posts from stock control to administration.
"Most people think the catering industry employs only chefs and service staff, but there are all sorts of roles people with disabilities can perform," said Mrs Thomas.
"The problem is the industry demands catering qualifications, with experience gained in every aspect of hospitality. The stumbling block liesin gaining access to those courses."
Professor David Foskett, programmes manager with Thames Valley's school of hospitality studies, said the decision to refit the kitchens was part of the university's equal opportunities policy.
l SOS can be contacted on 071-637 9681.