FutureSkills is a £6m advanced hospitality and catering skills centre that will open its doors in January next year with the purpose of arming hundreds of students with the skills they need to work in the hospitality sector.
Pilling, who runs Damson in partnership with head chef Simon Stanley, has worked closely with Salford City College on the project, giving input on the state-of-the-art low energy kitchens which have been designed and installed by Dawnvale, as well as sharing his vision as to how students should be trained in order to prepare them properly for careers in the industry.
Once students have been trained, they will also be offered the chance to take on a work placement at Damson.
Pilling said: "The whole project is now nearing completion and we just can’t wait to get started. Salford City College should be congratulated for their vision, passion and hard work in ensuring the industry has not just a national centre of excellence for our young people, but actually one we can safely say aspires to be world-class.
"My expertise in running, owning and developing high quality restaurants has, I trust, brought a new and personal dimension to the project. This will be the perfect environment for students to truly learn and master their craft as well as gain knowledge on the increasingly important elements of running a sustainable and environmentally-friendly ‘next-generation’ kitchen. It’s great news for young people with career aspirations, the North West hospitality sector and the industry as a whole."
The centre, which will include a 140-cover fine dining restaurant overlooking the garden and piazza area of MediaCityUK, has been two years in the making and was the vision of Salford City College's deputy chief executive Graham Pennington.
He said: "MediaCityUK is the perfect home for such an innovative project and this combined with Salford City College’s reputation for high quality training ensures a highly successful partnership. We are excited about the new training opportunities that both FutureSkills and Damson will bring to MediaCityUK and we are sure that it will attract learners from throughout Greater Manchester and beyond due to its unique offer and quality provision."
The centre will give students the chance to gain hands-on experience in what it claims is one of the most advanced commercial kitchens, featuring the latest sustainable and environmentally friendly technology, from low energy induction cooking to the latest kitchen sanitation and odour control units which use NASA technology.