New food qualification to inspire Welsh students

Young fans of ‘The Great British Bake Off’ and other popular shows such as ‘Great British Menu’ will have a new qualification to aim for this year, with the introduction of the new GCSE in Food and Nutrition.

The new GCSE, offered by the Welsh Joint Education Committee (WJEC) in consultation with a number of experts from specialist food organisations, is a new comprehensive qualification to replace the previous GCSEs in Hospitality and Catering and Food Technology. Its aim is to equip learners with the knowledge, understanding and skills required to cook and apply the principles of food science, nutrition and healthy eating.

One of the organisations which supports the course and provides training and materials for teachers is Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC). HCC is engaged in a number of initiatives to share the latest information about the role of red meat in a healthy, balanced diet, including supporting school events and hosting an education day at its stand in the Royal Welsh Show.

Elwen Roberts, who is a popular chef on S4C as well as being HCC’s Consumer Executive, says that the new qualification is very timely. “Cooking is an increasingly popular pastime for young people, and can lead to a range of rewarding careers in hospitality and tourism,” she explains, “but the course will also be extremely attractive for students who are interested in expanding fields such as product development, dietetics and sports science.”

“Through this new GCSE course, students can learn for instance how lean red meat is a good source of iron, protein, zinc and several vitamins, and is naturally low in sodium, but of course it’s best consumed as part of a healthy balanced diet,” added Elwen. “Food provenance is a key part of the new specification. Students will learn, for instance, about schemes such as the flagship PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) status which Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef enjoy.”

The new Food and Nutrition GCSE will be a top item of discussion at the HCC Meat and Education Conference in Cardiff on 19 November. Teachers will gather to discuss the latest developments in the field and share the latest learning resources.