A progressive school of cooking and hospitality has been launched in Auckland in response to an industry shortage of skilled workers.

The Culinary Collective hopes to attract more students into the hospitality industry by helping them transform a passion for food and service into a long-term career.

It's estimated the industry will need another 55,000 skilled workers to meet demand over the next five years, according to the Restaurant Association of New Zealand.

Offering a range of contemporary qualifications tailored to meet the needs of the modern food and hospitality industry, The Culinary Collective is focused on ensuring qualifications are directly connected to employment outcomes, with all 16 courses offered named after jobs students will be aspiring to work in.

These include the International Chef, the Visionary Foodie, the Professional Chef, the Restaurant Manager, the Front of House and the Entrepreneur Baker.

“A recent survey by the Tertiary Education Commission found that 18-24 years olds don’t have a positive image of vocational education in New Zealand," said Culinary Collective CEO Nicole Domett. "We know this applies to hospitality and cooking and there is a job to do in redefining the opportunity – engaging and relevant study is an important starting point.

“The Culinary Collective is taking a fresh approach to equipping students with skills that will support their professional goals and are in-line with industry trends, and importantly we are focused on attracting more students into careers in hospitality by shifting perceptions around what ‘working in hospo’ can be."

Guided by a team of tutors and a dedicated careers team, The Culinary Collective works closely with students throughout their study to place them into internships and then transition them successfully into employment.

Industry employment partnerships will see students transitioning into employment with major hotels and resorts such as Sofitel, Grand Mercure, Pullman Hotels, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Cordis Hotel, and Millennium Hotels and Resorts.

For students looking for experience overseas, international employment partnerships will enable students to work in the United Kingdom for hotels like the Ritz Carlton, and in America for hotels within Walt Disney World Resort along with five-star resorts in Banff, Jasper and the Rockies.

According to the MoneyHub guide of ‘What to Study in 2020’, training to be a chef is highlighted as one of the Top 20 areas of study in New Zealand based on where in-demand jobs are, what they pay and the potential for career progression.

"New Zealand is a leading tourism destination and services are at the core of the economy. Training to be a chef is an excellent career choice, given the demand for jobs here and worldwide. It's creative, flexible, self-managing and highly engaging,” said Christopher Walsh, senior research at MoneyHub.

“Best of all, many chefs go on to run their own business, and/or expand entrepreneurially in other ventures. It's a career that is only going up, with opportunities for every interest."

The Culinary Collective will teach students a diverse mix of traditional and contemporary skills, in and out of the classroom, spanning classical cooking and service techniques, contemporary hospitality trends such as the global move towards relaxed fine dining, along with a stronger focus on provenance and sustainability.

“The Culinary Collective reflects New Zealand’s unique food culture hallmarked by a diverse mix of flavours and cultures, world-class produce from paddock, land and sea, and the driving passion Kiwis have to be innovative, and find new ways of doing things," said Domett.

"We are creating a learning environment that will allow students to forge their own personalised ethos around food and service, and further expand the global impact of Kiwi-centric hospitality through a successful career."

The Culinary Collective forms part of the category one provider NZMA which is part of UP Education, the largest provider of career and industry-focused skills and qualifications in New Zealand. Each year, over 80% of UP Education graduates go on to higher study or successful employment.

Student enrolments are now open for The Culinary Collective with the first cohort of students beginning study in February 2020.