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Aviva Investors and Exeter College announce the launch of Exeter’s Queen Street Dining Academy
Posted on: August 3rd 2016
Section: Member news


This week sees the launch of the Queen Street Dinning Academy (QSDA), an exciting and innovative new recruitment initiative designed to support young people wishing to pursue a career in the food and beverage sector.

Aviva Investments, the company behind Exeter’s hotly anticipated Queen St. dining quarter, has teamed up with Exeter College to provide local job opportunities and assist new tenants with staff recruitment.

The 8 new restaurants, opening in Queen St. later this summer, require an estimated 300 new employees to staff their operations. QSDA will match local jobseekers to vacancies and support employees, by helping them to access training, develop skills and earn industry qualifications.

The project, in line with the British Council of Shopping Centres’ initiative ‘Retail Matters’, aims to support and promote jobs in retail property by implementing measures to progress careers.

Simon Green, Director In Town Retail & Shopping Centres for Aviva Investors, comments:

“In developing the Queen Street dining quarter it was important for us to deliver unique initiatives, with the potential to engage and inspire the local community and create a lasting legacy in the city and region. We want local people to take pride in Queen St. and its success.”

Vice Principal of Exeter College, Rob Bosworth, adds:

“We pride ourselves, at Exeter College, in creating exceptional partnerships.  The creation of the Queen Street Dining Academy will establish a hub of outstanding opportunity for young people here in the heart of Exeter.  The support from Aviva Investment has allowed us to develop a programme that will ensure  businesses and customers receive service and support above their expectations.  Our shared ethos of commitment to quality, innovation and great customer experience stands us in good stead for the future.” 

The QSDA is a fully developed recruitment and training model, at levels 2, 3 and 4, delivering bespoke apprenticeship programmes, vocational experience and day release training. QSDA will have a dedicated member of staff based in the quarter to support participants and ensure they are trained to the highest level. Exeter College staff will also undertake onsite assessments, to ensure excellence is achieved.

Head of Business Solutions and Enterprise at Exeter College, Mike Blakeley, explains more:

“The Queen Street Dining Academy combines top class apprenticeship programmes with some of the most innovative and exciting eateries around.  Employers have a hunger for motivated young people, to join their teams, and the opportunities are huge for those who can get a foothold in industry. Offering 3 – 4 year career development plans within the Academy will ensure our apprentices are well on the way to a successful and rewarding career.” 

Mike continues: “The employment market can be a little daunting for those young people looking for their first full time job.  Our work, with the Queen Street Dining Quarter, opens up opportunities to all and removes several of the hurdles young people often face in securing a role with training. QSDA recruits will get some of the best training and employer support anywhere in the country.  The hundreds of young people who opt for an apprenticeship with Exeter College have an amazing start to their career.”

Queen St. Diningwill feature an eclectic mix of exciting brands , the majority of which are new to the South West. The line up comprises of: Absurd Bird, Comptoir Libanais, Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK), Grillstock, KuPP, The Stable, The Terrace and Turtle Bay. The dining quarter will also introduce new wonderful and welcoming open air spaces designed especially for food events, markets and entertainment.

Joe Hill, the Exeter based Managing Director of the group who have created the Terrace, is already working with QSDA to source staff and support their training and development requirements. Joe comments:

 “The Queen Street Dining Academy brings together a recruitment and training solution in one simple package. To be able to access a talent pool of young motivated apprentices will without doubt add value to our business and, in turn, this will ensure our customers receive outstanding service and high quality output from our kitchens. We understand the value of supporting our staff and training and development is a significant part of our investment in our employees. Having a high quality academy on our doorstep is an exciting development, not only for us, but the other 7 restaurants in the quarter. We have without doubt seen a rise in career opportunities in our sector and this simple and effective approach will create countless opportunities for those with an interest in professional cookery and hospitality."

Joe added: "we are delighted that Exeter College and Aviva investments have joined forces to benefit young people, businesses and the customers of our restaurants. The quality of what they do will stand out for all to see." 

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