Cooking up new skills in Southall

15 May 2017

Southall Manor House is a new project being funded by the Mayor. It’s helping to equip local people with the skills local businesses need. Lucy Taylor, Ealing Council’s Director of Regeneration and Planning, tells us more…

What is the project?

Southall Manor House is about people and place. In terms of people, it will create a pool of local skilled staff that businesses can employ. In terms of place, we’re doing the building up as a training restaurant where people can learn on the job. Many businesses in Southall said there was a real shortage of trained chefs.

That meant they had to bring in people from India and other places to do these jobs. Southall Manor House is a way of giving Londoners the skills they need to go into jobs we know that exist. It’s about training students in a live environment and training the chefs and supporting the local businesses.

The project was developed with Jamie Grainger Smith, from Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant. It’s based in the grade II listed old manor house which dates from the 16th century. The building sits in a park in what was a rundown part of Southall. When the Mayor’s Regeneration Fund came along we looked at how we could give the building a new lease of life.

We’re building an extension so that we can create a proper commercial kitchen. There will also be space for learning and education, events and be a place that will support local businesses too.

What role has the local college played in the project?

Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College give students the training to become restaurant staff.  They can then get real-life experience working at Southall Manor House. The approach is about us each bringing our own resources and expertise to the project. The council had the building and assets. The college has expertise in training people and bringing resources to that.

How will you measure the success of this project?

The first measure of success will be in terms of the number of people trained and getting into jobs. We want to measure how many local businesses tap into getting their staff trained there. We’ll also look at visitor numbers at events and whether it’s changed what people think of this part of Southall.

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