Fooditude has always seen community engagement as an integral part of its sustainability journey. After all, the UN defines sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. In short, it’s not just about the planet’s environment; it’s also about the prosperity of the people who live on it.
So, to truthfully call ourselves sustainable caterers, we need to support the communities that surround us as well as reduce our negative environmental impact. One of the first steps we have taken after launching in Ireland is to work alongside Business In The Community Ireland (a.k.a BITC Ireland) and Trinity Comprehensive School to positively impact the local area.
Our Executive Chef, Sinead Moore who spearheaded this program in Dublin, shares her experience with us.
With our newly formed partnerships, we recently held seven sessions at Trinity Comprehensive to give their students a better understanding of their future career opportunities. These sessions started with an initial Meet & Greet alongside BITC Ireland to kickstart our engagement. In another session, Dean Kennett, our Managing Director, presented his journey from school to going into business to 5th year students. Read more about it here >
However, for most of the sessions, I worked with the 2nd year students through the ‘World of Work’ program to give them a flavour of work-life within our industry. At first, I was concerned as we didn’t know what level to pitch our challenging tasks. But they turned out to be a tenacious bunch and succeeded in everything we threw their way.
Within the skills sessions during our ‘World of Work’ program, the students learnt about nutrition, heard from members of the Fooditude team about different parts of the business and their professional journeys; and got to grips with preparing for work with Ingrid, our People and Culture Manager.
The students got to be fully interactive too. They got hands-on with real cooking challenges, creating healthy and versatile dishes. Then, just like mini chef professionals, they worked cohesively in their teams to deliver all the meals successfully in just under an hour. Well done 2nd Years! Fooditude tips it’s chef hat to you.
Our last day
How time flies! Before I knew it, we had reached our final ‘wrap up’ session at Trinity Comprehensive. To be honest, I expected something low-key, such as a quiet farewell to myself and Andrea from BITC with Frances and Susan, the principal and vice principal of the school.
As it happened, the students had gathered in the library to give us a proper send-off. I was thrilled to see one of the students, Tyler give a presentation about what he had learnt during the sessions and share other students’ experiences. He also spoke about Fooditude in depth – including the job roles within our business. It takes courage to present to an audience of peers, teachers and external guests. I was so proud to see Tyler so such a fantastic job!
It’s a wrap
On a personal note, this program took me so far out of my comfort zone – the first day in the school standing in front of the students terrified me. I’m not a presenter or a public speaker, but I really believed in the program and knew this part was necessary to get to the fun part. Every piece of engagement with each of the students was well worth being terrified that first day, hopefully the scary part gets easier and the good parts just keep getting better.
One of the highlights for me during our time at Trinity Comprehensive were the skills sessions, as kitchens are my happy place. I was especially pleased to see the effect these sessions had on some of the more reserved students, who really came out of their shell during the cooking activities.
Moving forward, I cannot wait to take Fooditude’s partnership with Trinity Comprehensive and BITC Ireland further with more programs and projects. This is only the beginning of our community engagement in Ireland. So watch this space!