Well, what a busy few weeks I’ve had! We’ve said thank you to David Bentley who’s come to the end of his two-year tenure as chairman and I’m really excited to be picking up the chain of office from someone who’s made such an impression and created great opportunities and achievements for the society.
I’ve been looking at how I can build on the initiatives that David has set in motion, such as wider membership benefits and industry collaboration, as well as creating my own vision to add value to the membership and the industry as a whole.
We’re an association with a vast and varied membership base that has the opportunity to make a bigger impact in our industry, thanks to a collective voice. The key to this is communicating with people what we’re doing, how we can help business and the innovative initiatives we’re championing. This post is my first for Foodservice Consultant and forms part of this wider communication to our fellow consultants and the industry so that we can share, learn and move forward together.
Collaboration is central to my agenda. With the help of the UK Executive committee I plan to build on our industry partnerships with other bodies such as the British Hospitality Association, Institute of Hospitality, Institute of Environmental Health and more for our mutual benefit.
We’ve already got some great projects on the go along with a strong support network with CEDA and CESA. This month the Carbon Trust Cut Cost and Carbon Calculator was launched and we’re working with members to influence best practice and infiltrate Government policy with the BHA and are continuing to develop our TriEducation programme of foodservice and hospitality professional qualifications and degrees. All of these, together with new initiatives will be a focus for UK & Ireland over the next couple of years.
I also hope to open up our society to more consultants, who operate in different parts of the industry such as interior design to help us widen our expertise. And there’s an opportunity to use our internal resource and work collectively on large projects as “FCSI” to play to the strengths of members’ individual skill sets. This is an idea at the moment, but one that I’m hoping to turn into a reality.
Central to many of my ambitions for FCSI is the idea that ‘we’ as an industry can learn from each other. In my opinion, this is hugely important for the development and future success of our sector. Through my own business we are taking our clients from education and the cost sector on learning tours to see what restaurants and cafes are doing on the high street, so they can take ideas and apply them to their catering. There’s so much you can learn if you look outside of your immediate workplace and start to think outside the box.
I am also lucky enough to nominate the society’s charity for my two year’s as chairman. I’m delighted to announce that we will be supporting Springboard, which dedicates its efforts to support and help young people to find jobs in the hospitality and foodservice sector. This seemed a very apt choice given the current UK jobs market and our industry’s drive to encourage young talent to choose hospitality as a career.
I look forward to a prosperous and interesting two years.
Niccola Boyd-Stevenson is chairman of FCSI UK & Ireland