Pop-up Restaurant in Cork Prison – The Open Door
17th May 2022
The Irish Prison Service in collaboration with the Department of Tourism & Hospitality at Munster Technological University, IASIO and Cork Education and Training Board are delighted to announce a pop-up restaurant event, The Open Door, in Cork Prison on Tuesday 17th, May 2022. The Practical Culinary Skills programme involves six prisoners who undertook an intensive eight-week course that allows for the assessment of learning outcomes but also provides prisoners with the relevant experience of a “live” operational restaurant space. Invited guests will be seated in the Education Unit of the prison and will be served by Hospitality Management students from Munster Technological University (MTU) on the night.
Speaking about the new initiative Governor of Cork Prison, Peter O’Brien said, “I am delighted to announce the launch of this new initiative, “The Open Door” here at Cork Prison. This project will enhance the rehabilitative and employment options for all those who work and train here in the years to come”.
This pilot-programme, which was co-managed by, the Irish Prison Service, Department of Tourism and Hospitality and the Access Service, MTU is designed to train and educate prisoners to improve and develop both their culinary skills and workplace learning. It will allow them to progress towards further training, education, and employment opportunities in the community.
Deirdre Creedon, Access Officer at MTU’s Cork Campus also welcomed this worthy initiative saying: “This initiative developed following a successful MTU Taster Lecture Series in the Prison which was delivered by volunteer academic staff. There was an interest from the participants to learn more about Culinary Skills and it was great to be able to design and deliver a Special Purpose Award that allows prisoners an opportunity to avail of learning opportunities and qualifications that make them more employable when released.”
This new initiative demonstrates the unique partnership between our organisations, which enhance pathways to further Training, Education and Employment for people in custody. This programme builds on several years of existing co-operation with stakeholders and demonstrates the future focus on supports and rehabilitative needs of prisoners and potentially offers a solution to employers in the Hospitality and Tourism Industry with providing new motivated employees to fill the current shortage in there sector.
Also speaking at the event is, IASIO Chief Executive Officer, Paddy Richardson, “We fully support this collaborative programme that prepares participants to progress towards further employment, training and education opportunities. It has the potential to be replicated elsewhere and link more clients to employers with real, sustainable jobs in the community”.
It highlights the many available opportunities to prisoners in custody who want to engage in a meaningful way as it supports and allows them to set and achieve realistic goals that will transfer with them back into the community.
John Fitzgibbons, Director of Further Education and Training with Cork Education and Training Board said: “Cork ETB are pleased to be involved in this initiative with our many partners, as the “Open Door” builds on the foundations laid down in students culinary skills studies and creates Pathways for Learners to Further Education or Employment”.
Note to Editors:
The Practical Culinary Skills programme is a collaborative initiative between Irish Prison Service, Munster Technological University, Cork Education Training Board and IASIO. This collaboration sees 6 participants engage in an eight-week intensive course in the Cork Prison Education Unit.
The programme is designed to train and educate prisoners to improve and develop their culinary skills in workplace learning and progress towards further Training, Education and Employment opportunities in the community.
It supports and encourages all participants to reach their potential and acquire recognised industry and academic accreditation such as a Special Purpose Award (5 credits) in culinary skills and the EHAI – Primary Course that includes Food Safety and HACCP training which allows you to secure employment in Hotels, Restaurant and the Catering industry in Ireland. It highlights the many available opportunities to prisoners in custody who want to engage in a meaningful way as it supports and allows them to set and achieve realistic goals that will transfer with them back into the community.
Each participant attends the education unit twice a week and are tutored by a lecturer from the MTU Tourism & Hospitality Department and a home economics teacher with the CETB Prison Education Unit. It combines classroom training with hands on practical skills development in a live kitchen environment. It offers all participants the opportunity to further develop there learning, attain new skills and training and offers a real pathway to open the door for graduates to continue to engage in the community and reduce recidivism rates by moving away from a life of crime and providing for their family.
This new initiative demonstrates how the Irish Prison Service and programme partners are future focused, supports the rehabilitative needs of prisoners and potentially offers a solution to employers in the Hospitality and Tourism Industry with providing new motivated employees to fill the current shortage in there sector.
The Department of Tourism and Hospitality at MTU encompasses the areas of Culinary Arts and Culinary Studies, Tourism Management, Hospitality Management and Hospitality Studies, Beverage Industry Management and Home Economics & Business, and has over 500 students studying in a dedicated building on the Bishopstown Campus in Cork.