The Morrison Government will support the Maggie Beer Foundation with $500,000 to develop a national training program for cooks and chefs across Australia’s aged care industry.
The project will help address the gap in specific skills-based training within Australia for cooks, chefs and CEOs currently working, or wanting to work, in aged care.
It will build on Maggie Beer’s record of work in the aged care sector, providing accessible, practical training that puts senior Australians at the heart of hospitality.
The training course will include a comprehensive online and face-to-face skills program and will be offered across rural, regional and metropolitan areas.
Chefs and cooks catering for the up to 240,000 Australians living in residential aged care homes each year have an extremely demanding role.
For senior Australians, especially those in care, mealtimes and food are particularly important, with nutrition and enjoyment an essential part of maintaining good physical and mental health.
Aged Care chefs and cooks are responsible for preparing nutritious, flavoursome, safe and healthy food for a great variety of people who have different dietary requirements.
They need knowledge of the special needs of senior people, including dementia and psychological behaviours, as well as their nutritional requirements and an understanding of the assessment and regulatory processes governing aged care providers.
The two-year funding contribution will support the development of 11 new training modules in the first year.
These will include: Panfrying and Cooking Applications; Finger Foods; Working with Cook Chill - Finishing Stages; Cooking essentials; Food Presentation; Managing the kitchens Keep it Simple, Keep it Fresh – Gardens; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders; Religious, Spiritual and Cultural; High Energy and Protein; Important needs; Texture Modification A and B; Engaging with residents Dining Environment; Specialist knowledge Sensory Thresholds for Taste and Aromas.
Training will not only focus on cooking essentials and how to manage a kitchen, but also how cooks and chefs can engage with residents, and specialist knowledge they need for the aged care sector.
This is another important step in developing Australia’s professional aged care workforce, through the training and tools they need to provide quality aged care.
“Chefs and cooks are at the frontline in aged care and there is so much that we can do to help them bring life-altering change to so many older Australians,” said Maggie Beer.
“I am thrilled and delighted that the Federal Government has chosen to support our training programs. This will enable us to help cooks and chefs right across Australia to provide enjoyable, appetising and nutritious food to older people.
“Food is nutrition not just for the body, but also for the soul. It’s what fires our appetite for life, no matter what age.”
The project will be delivered in partnership with the William Angliss Institute, Australia’s largest specialist centre for foods, tourism, hospitality and events training, and with Altura Learning, the leading provider of high quality customised training to the social care sector.