1st December 2011

Blantyre Pupil is Scotland’s Top Hospitality Student

Caption: With the winning certificates for the school are Graeme Findlay, Scottish Qualification Authority’s Quality Manager for home economics and hospitality, celebrity chef and Scotch Lamb Ambassador, Jacqueline O’Donnell from The Sisters in Glasgow, Alysha Sommerville, winner from Calderside Academy, Blantyre, Alysha’s Home Economics Teacher, Moira Findlay and Qualified dietitian and QMS Health and Education Co-ordinator, Jennifer Robertson

Alysha Sommerville will return to her former school today (Thursday 1 December) to be awarded the title of Scotland’s Top Hospitality Student by celebrity chef, Jacqueline O’Donnell from The Sisters Restaurant in Glasgow.  

As a sixth-year pupil of Calderside Academy in Blantyre, Alysha was one of the 5,365 students to take the hospitality practical cookery Intermediate 2 course. As Scotland’s top student, she will receive an award of £250 and in recognition of Alysha’s win; Calderside Academy will also receive a special £250 meat voucher for current home economics students to purchase Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork to use in classes.

Award sponsor, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), is behind a national project tackling the problem of young people leaving Scottish schools without learning to cook red meat and in many cases, this is due to school budget constraints. As part of the QMS project, all Scottish secondary schools are being offered a voucher, valued up to £100, to enable them to buy red meat from local butcher’s shops for use in cookery classes.

Qualified dietitian and QMS Health and Education Co-ordinator Jennifer Robertson said: “This is the third year that QMS has supported the course and we are delighted that since practical cooking was incorporated into the home economics course, the number of students signing up has increased significantly. We are seeing a record number of Scottish children learning about food and cooking which is a reversal of what was a worrying decline.”

Celebrity chef and Scotch Lamb Ambassador Jacqueline O’Donnell from The Sisters Restaurant in Glasgow was delighted to present both Alysha and Calderside Academy with their well-deserved awards.

She commented: ”As the Top Hospitality Student for Scotland, Alysha has much to be proud of and as she continues her studies in Glasgow, I am sure her skills will be put to good use.”

“As a chef I support QMS in promoting the benefits of eating red meat as part of a healthy, balanced diet and I believe it is important to highlight the importance of encouraging young people to be interested in food and nutrition.

“Learning skills to make use of Scotland’s excellent produce can set a standard for good, healthy eating.”

According to Graeme Findlay, Scottish Qualification Authority’s Quality Manager for home economics and hospitality subjects, over 20,000 Scottish secondary school pupils are now taking certificated home economics or hospitality classes every year, which is almost double that of five years ago.

Mr Findlay continued: “The significant increase in the number of pupils developing practical cooking skills is a very encouraging trend and ties in well with the Government’s educational aspirations of their Food and Drink policy.”

“Tomorrow’s parents will have a better understanding of nutrition than the previous generation, and be able to make informed choices about their diets.”

Alysha completed 6 years secondary education, initially at Blantyre High, and then at Calderside Academy from 2008. Her Home Economics teacher, Moira Findlay, talked of her time there.

“Alysha was always well-behaved; cheery and very accomplished in everything she did.”

“She was a pleasure to have in class and everyone at Calderside wishes her well at Glasgow Caledonian University where she is studying Forensic Investigation.”

Sign up for the latest news and views