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One hallmark of a great vacation is the delicious food you get to try. In the US Virgin Islands, tourism accounts for almost 60% of the GDP and half of civilian employment. The University of the Virgin Islands recognized this opportunity to better serve their community when they started up their culinary program.

The Culinary Arts six-month program offers training and certification for its students. The program culminates in 8 weeks of hands-on training at the campus restaurant, so students get the full experience of learning, honing their skills, and engaging in real-world experience. Not only does this give them confidence in their abilities, but their certification validates their skills to make them stand out to potential employers.

The Secret Ingredient Is NBS Certifications

NOCTI Business Solutions (NBS) offers an entry-level assessment for Retail Commercial Baking, and NOCTI has partnered with the American Culinary Federation (ACF) to co-brand a Culinary Arts Cook assessment. These are both Job Ready assessments, which means they are specifically tailored to prepare workers for the needs of the local industry.

The skills tested in these assessments include far more than just the ratio of flour and fat required to make a roux. Between the two assessments, UVI can gage its student’s knowledge of the following:

  • Culinary terminology
  • Kitchen equipment
  • Nutrition
  • Safety and sanitation
  • Basic business skills for the food service industry
  • Merchandising strategy
  • Inventory systems
  • And more!

The knowledge and skills are directly applicable to the type of jobs these students would perform in commercial kitchens. With these certifications, students boost both their resumés and their interview confidence as they enter their new careers.

How UVI Gets a Double Value From NBS Assessments

The culinary program at UVI starts with a pre-test. While the students are a little wary of being tested on things they haven’t learned yet, by the end of the program they realize the value of the pre-test as a measure of their starting point. The pre-test assessment shows where they started, and the post-test assessment shows them how far they’ve come.

Chef Robles, who developed the culinary program at UVI, says that utilizing these assessments “has given us the opportunity to see the growth and how the students have grown from beginning to end.” She also notes that there is a secondary benefit to these assessments: the school can look at these test results as a measure of their own program. They can use the assessments to see where they may need more development if students did not score as well in a certain area.

Following the culinary program, students who pass their certification get to add that credential to their resumés and signature lines. Chef Robles says this addition has definitely helped with resumés and career trajectories. “It gives them the opportunity to show off their skills, and they get the credentials from the American Culinary Federation that says I did exactly what I needed to do.”

It’s a known fact that industry certifications help workers find—and keep—employment. Employees who seek out certification are also more likely to receive raises or promotions, when compared to non-certification-seeking employees. For more details on how NBS credentials can boost employability and fill skilled labor openings, read our related post on How Industry Certifications Help Bridge the Skills Gap.

a culinary student wearing food service gloves plates an appetizer

Add NBS Credentials to Your Recipe For Success

If your culinary program needs a little flavor boost, consider how NBS’ high-quality credentials can help prepare your students for jobs in the food service industry. The certifications measure not only culinary prowess but also real-world restaurant knowledge and skills. Don’t just prepare your students for a kitchen, prepare them for a culinary career.

For more information about these certifications, check out the assessment blueprints:

Don’t hesitate to reach out to NBS for additional questions or information about these credentials, just send us a message and our team will help you out.