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Limerick Strand Hotel wins VET Excellence Award in Helsinki

VET Excellence Award: Bernadette Enright – Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board, Tom Flavin – Executive Chef Limerick Strand Hotel, Jose Ordóñez Mata – Apprentice, Kieran O’Shaughnessy  – Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board, Paul Patton  – Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board.

Limerick Strand Hotel wins VET Excellence Award in Helsinki

The Limerick Strand Hotel came home with the TOP VET Excellence Award last night in Helsinki at the Employer’s Award by the European Alliance of Apprenticeships. 

The Awards are part of European Vocational Skills Week 2019 and highlight best practices and recognise excellence in Vocational Education and Training (VET) all over Europe. Executive Chef Tom Flavin and one of his Commis Chef Apprentices, Jose Mata, 2nd-year apprentices studying under the National Commis Chef Apprenticeship Programme were there to accept the award.



Bernadette Enright, Manager of Hospitality Campus, Limerick & Claire Education, and Training Board, said, “This is a fantastic achievement made possible by two parties, education & industry working hand in hand and endorsed in Europe with this award.”

The VET Excellence Award highlights best practice and recognise excellence in Vocational Education and Training (VET) all over Europe. By showcasing the best examples of VET, they provide visibility and recognition for good work – and motivate individuals and organisations that work with VET. This serves to build new networks, expand existing ones, and create new career opportunities. Winners of the awards hold the prestige of becoming ambassadors in their field.

Tim Finn, Chief Executive, Irish Hotels Federation, “The Limerick Strand Hotel was one of the first employers to engage with the National Commis Chef Apprenticeship programme when it was first launched in 2017. Since then, they have provided on-the-job training for apprentice chefs, supplying them with the required equipment, tools, resources and guidance to complete their apprenticeship assessments. The hotel is dedicated to the ongoing development of its staff, providing further opportunities for the apprentices to develop outside of their work by enrolling them in additional skill development courses” 

Jose Mata, one of the apprentices employed by the Strand Hotel recently entered and won gold in the National Catex culinary competition. Apprentice mobility is encouraged and supported, with one apprentice each year given the opportunity to train in a Michelin Star restaurant in France for a month, developing advanced culinary skills. 

 Tom Flavin, Executive Chef, Limerick Strand said, “We are thrilled to bring this coveted award back to Limerick.   Without leadership and training in our industry, the chef shortage crisis will continue.  We need to invest in our apprentices, allowing them to learn, grow and flourish.”

The Limerick Strand Hotel is an award-winning four-star hotel ideally located on O’Callaghan Strand in the heart of Limerick City Centre.  With stunning vistas of The River Shannon and a birds-eye view of every landmark in the historical city, the Limerick Strand Hotel is the ideal venue for both business and pleasure trips.

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Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.