Build on a Strong Foundation; Foundation Degrees Are One of the Fastest Growing Higher Education Qualifications in the UK. with Courses Ranging from Business to Hospitality Management, You Can Find One That Fits Your Bill. by Sarah Richardson

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Byline: Sarah Richardson

IF you're looking for a vocational qualification designed to be relevant to employers and with the status of a degree, Westminster Kingsway College's selection of foundation degrees could appeal.

Since their launch as a partnership between colleges, universities and employers in 2000, foundation degrees are now one of the fastest growing higher education qualifications in the UK. The two-year qualification is the equivalent to the first two years of a full honours degree and is a recognised qualification in its own right. There are currently more than 120,000 students studying a foundation degree, with over half of these students studying on a part-time basis and 75 per cent of students aged over 21 when they begin their programme.

Howard White is head of higher education at Westminster Kingsway College, which offers foundation degrees in accountancy, business and public administration, as well as foundation and final year degrees in hospitality management, tourism management and culinary arts.

"All of our vocational degrees are popular, particularly those in business, hospitality and culinary arts, areas in which Westminster Kingsway College specialises," says White. "The foundation degree in culinary arts is quite unusual because in the past chefs generally didn't study at this level but that has really changed in recent years. We underpin the practical side of the qualification with plenty of innovation, culinary science, management and fun."

Westminster Kingsway is working with employers from a number of different industries to provide bespoke variants of their foundation degrees to suit their specific needs.

"One programme in hospitality management was for a national budget hotel chain, Travelodge, to develop its managers and supervisors," explains White. "Another programme was for Armed Forces personnel to undertake their studies through online distance learning. We have had to really diversify our teaching and assessment methods to make this latter course work for the learners, but it has resulted in a fun and engaging 'anywhere/anytime' approach to learning."

Herbert Goredema, an Army corporal, has just completed a foundation degree in hospitality and food service management with Westminster Kingsway College. …