Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar told the RAI Conference this week about a 'very productive' meeting he had with Paul O'Toole, ceo of the new Solas training agency, regarding the future training of hospitality staff.
Both men are aware of the yawning gap which now exists in the training area with Failte Ireland abandoning craft training and nobody around to do it. As a result restaurants have great difficulty in finding skilled chefs and, to a lesser extent, servers.
Minister Varadkar talked about the need to find 'the right space' for chef qualifications, so that trainees entering the industry can perform without being over-qualified. He is on the button in this. Young chefs hardly need to learn about the history and culture of gastronomy or the finer points of the culinary arts. They need to know hygiene practices, have basic preparation and cooking skills and the stamina for long hours of work on basic pay.
The former CERT did this training exceptionally well in a 13 week course which saw thousands of young people find jobs in the industry during the 'Good Old Days' of the 1990s. All Solas needs to do is get a hold of those training manuals and start again.