A TOP catering service run from Inverclyde Royal Hospital is joining forces with West College Scotland to create a pioneering academy for students with additional support needs.

Cook Freeze Production is part of a Greater Glasgow and Clyde operation to get patients back to health - sending out 67,000 meals a week.

Now, as well as overseeing the mammoth cooking operation, the catering team is helping give vital support elsewhere.

They have set up a skills academy with the colleged for students who face major barriers to work.

West College Scotland's employability advisor Mhairi Power said: "The feedback from both the employer and our students has been positive.

"It is a brilliant partnership. The students are getting so much out of it. We are delighted Cook Freeze Production have helped us set up this Skills Academy.

"We put a lot of preparation in with the students to make sure they are ready for it.

"Many of the students we work with have addional support needs."

Course team leader Leeann Jenkinson said: "It is just so important that they get the work experience and the chance to learn new skills."

Cook Freeze Production Centre manager Raymond Jupp leads a workforce of around 70 employees and is responsible for providing patients meals at both IRH and the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

Raymond said: "When I was approached by the college we were delighted to get involved. There is so many practical skills we can help with here.

"There is much to the process and we have a huge responsibility here. Patients need the right, nutritional meals to help with their recovery."

Delighted students Sophie Sheridan, Matthew Allan, Lewis Crighton
and Amy-Paige Lauderdale are among the first to get on board.

Amy-Paige, 19, said: "It is great to be at the hospital and to see what goes on."

Lewis, 22, added: "It is a really brilliant experience for us, I'm enjoying it."

The college previously had a skills academy with Amazon, which came to an end when the online retail giant closed its Gourock operation.

Anyone interested in applying for work readiness courses can contact the college using the following email leeann.jenkinson@wcs.ac.uk