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Opinion: Julian Edwards FCSI

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The chair of FCSI UK & Ireland (who, for one day only would like to rename his division 'The FCSI British and Irish Lions' to acknowledge his team's achievements in the rugby!) blogs on the latest news, events and developments for the division

FCSI UK & Ireland is changing – significantly and dynamically.

We are making our code of conduct tougher and more robust and we are ensuring that every action we take as a Society is focused on the three key objectives we established at the start of the year: education, innovation and collaboration.

A strong, continued emphasis on all three of these factors is essential to what we are trying to achieve, which is ultimately to give members added value through the Society and ensure they all retain a high degree of pride in their profession and their membership.

Collaborative thinking

Looking at those three areas in reverse order, firstly collaboration is crucial to what we do as FCSI consultants. We want supporting UK organisations we work with to know they too can tap into our design and management resources.

We are working with HCA (Hospital Catering Association), NACC (National Association of Care Catering), TUCO (The University Caterers Organisation), PS100 (The Public Sector Group), LACA (Lead Association for Catering in Education), CESA (Catering Equipment Suppliers Association) and other societies and groups.

Many of our members will already be attending events hosted by these sister organisations in the future. So, to be more efficient and to help our time-poor members with managing their schedules, as well as to be more environmentally friendly, we can piggyback off those events where it makes sense to do so and host more FCSI UK & Ireland gatherings in conjunction with our association friends. That helps to make us more streamlined and to collaborate closer with the organisations that complement the work our members do.

Innovative ideas

At the recent Commercial Kitchen show in Birmingham, UK, our members were able to spend quality time with the equipment manufacturers exhibiting there and appreciate the latest products and innovative ideas about to hit the market.

One of the biggest challenges we face as a Society is to generate interest from new markets and find clients in different sectors that want to work with us. Events like the excellent panel session FCSI UK & Ireland hosted at Commercial Kitchen are a good example of how we can raise our profile in innovative ways and show we can be the preferred-choice route for catering operators.

It was a pleasure to be asked to judge this year’s Product Innovation Awards at the show. It gave me a unique insight into the latest technology being developed for the foodservice sector. Innovation is the lifeblood of this industry and consultants need to stay at the forefront of the latest ideas, processes and thinking, staying informed and constantly learning.

Education

Continuous learning and education is essential for us if we want to achieve recognition as the leading professional body in the UK, Europe and worldwide in this sector. We need to increase our learning and intellect with regards to all aspects of foodservice, keeping abreast of the latest food regulation, food safety, environmental and energy laws.

It is my express wish for us to be at the very forefront of the latest understanding in order to communicate and share that with our members and our Allied colleagues. To epitomise that, we developed FCSI UK & Ireland’s first ever ‘Education Day’ on 20 June at Senate House, University of London. The event, which was a great success, addressed diverse topics including energy efficiency, waste reduction, technology, new regulations and sustainability.

The Education Day is just one example of how we’ve listened to our Allied members and delivered relevant, focused ‘classroom materials’ which are a must for keeping up to speed and informed. We intend to also launch webinars in the future that will also help members to build up their knowledge base.

Having the FCSI logo and letters on my business card gives me enormous pride in our international Society. I’m proud to fly the flag of FCSI and look forward to serving our members wherever and whenever I can.

Julian Edwards FCSI