On 24 January 2017, Jackie McCabe, Director of Training was invited to Cornton Vale Prison to meet with some inmates who had recently completed the REHIS Elementary Cooking Skills certificate.

The REHIS Elementary Cooking Skills course was launched back in 2013 and is now delivered in an ever-growing number of centres throughout Scotland. The course aims to provide participants with basic cooking skills with the aim of increasing their confidence, skills and knowledge.

Broadly, it covers the following areas:
• basic food preparation skills
• basic cooking and presentation skills
• food safety
• using safe and hygienic practices

The course is designed to be flexible and can be delivered using various different approaches providing the minimum teaching time of six hours in which course objectives are covered. This allows trainers to tailor each course to meet the needs of the course participants in a wide range of settings.

Andrew Taylor, Catering Officer/Trainer at Cornton Vale Prison, and long term REHIS Food Hygiene Course Presenter, recently started delivering the REHIS Cooking skills course with the inmates as part of their education programme. He has devised a workplace-learning programme in the kitchen, which covers all aspects of the syllabus over six weeks to give a ‘semi industrial’ course in preparation of meals, soups and sweets for 85 people. The objective of the learning is to prepare and equip the women with skills and qualifications to gain employment on their release with the hope that it also reduces the likely hood of re-offending.

Jackie McCabe commented that whilst visiting the prison, the inmates were making cream of carrot and coriander soup and she enjoyed delicious scones that they had also prepared. The inmates stated that they enjoyed completing the course, learnt many new skills and are looking forward to doing their REHIS Food Hygiene qualification next.