The new facilities were developed thanks to £2.17m in funding secured through the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) via the government’s Local Growth Fund.
The investment into the new facilities at City of Oxford College are in line with both local and national demands for “highly-skilled” and work-ready staff to take on roles within a sector that is vitally important for the local economy.
Prior to the pandemic, tourism had supported 10% of all employment in Oxfordshire and contributed £2.17bn to the local economy and nationally, was worth £100.8bn.
Despite facing significant challenges throughout the pandemic period and being impacted by the loss of staff due to Brexit, the group said it now sees “significant green shoots” of recovery for the sector.
Nigel Huddleston, tourism minister, came down to the college to officially open the new facilities.
He said: “I was delighted to open Activate Learning’s brand-new hospitality and catering facilities at City of Oxford College and see first-hand the fantastic opportunities that await the next generation in these sectors.
“Tourism and hospitality make vital contributions to our economy and we need to make sure we have a strong pipeline of talent coming through to help build back better for the future.”
Sally Dicketts CBE, chief executive of Activate Learning, added: “We have a long track record of providing the hospitality and catering sector with amazing talent from here at City of Oxford College and these new facilities will allow this brilliant work to continue for years to come.
“These ultramodern, state-of-the-art training spaces will ensure students have real-life, practical experience of working in the sort of kitchens they will expect to find when they go out into the workplace.”