Northern Ireland’s Young Entrepreneurs Get Cooking!

From left to right - Melanie Mulligan, CCEA; Hannah Somerville, McKinney Primary School, Dundrod; Jilly Dougan, Yellow Door; Simon Dougan, Yellow Door; Fiona McArthur, ETI; Lois Trimble, McKinney Primary School and pupils from McKinney Primary School.

Pupils from McKinney Primary School in Dundrod, showed off their innovative and entrepreneurial skills earlier this week, in the cooking and selling of potato bread as part of a school’s challenge hosted by Yellow Door and supported by the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA).

‘The Potato Bread Enterprise Challenge’ was developed as a result of the successful ‘Growing for the Future’ resource - – a collaboration between CCEA and Tourism NI, encouraging children to grow fruit and vegetables and explore where food comes from while promoting healthy eating.

Melanie Mulligan, CCEA’s Curriculum and Assessment Primary Education Manager, commented on Tuesday’s challenge:

“Through CCEA’s partnership with Tourism NI, we were delighted to be able to bring education and the food industry together.  The Growing for the Future resource, available for all schools allows pupils to engage with issues such as food provenance and sustainability, which are huge issues both locally and across the world. 

Today’s event is an extension of this work which culminated in an enterprise challenge intended to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship amongst our primary school pupils.

You couldn’t help but be impressed by the infectious enthusiasm and creativity displayed by the children of McKinney Primary School. Engaging with employers brings greater meaning and relevance to learning and gives pupils the chance to learn about and from the world of work.”

Carolyn Boyd, Industry Development Manager, Tourism NI said:

“The ‘Growing for the Future’ project was grown from the seeds of the innovative gardener Jilly Dougan who had written ‘Sow, Grow, Munch’ to encourage primary school children to better understand food generally and growing food in particular. I was lucky enough to meet CCEA representatives at a food event in St Georges Market during the ‘Year of Food and Drink 2016’ and through their enthusiasm and diligence the project was hatched.”

Yellow Door’s Jilly Dougan and author of ‘Sow, Grow, Munch’ commented:

"We can see from today that there are emerging food entrepreneurs in primary schools. We were excited by the quality of their submission and the level of thought that went into it. This is how food innovation works!

There is an amazing world of future opportunities in the agri-food, hospitality and tourism sectors in Northern Ireland. If we are to continue to attract global visitors then we need to encourage dynamic young people like we see today into our industry; there's no better time to encourage an understanding and appreciation for real food, develop a palette and get interested in sustainable sourcing and cooking from scratch than in primary school."


Growing For The Future

Tourism NI, in partnership with CCEA, have developed the Growing for the Future resource. Building on the legacy of the Year of Food and Drink 2016 and a project between the Hastings Hotels Group, Jilly Dougan (edible gardener) and 5 local schools in 2016, this resource aims to encourage children to grow fruit and vegetables and explore where food comes from while promoting healthy eating. It also aims to:

  • raise awareness among young people and teaching staff at schools and colleges on the Year of Food and Drink 2016 Campaign: the importance of food and healthy eating; the breadth of exciting career opportunities offered in the hospitality and tourism industry and increase the number of young people able to cook using a foundation of skills
  • build on activities around the Year of Food and Drink 2016 to promote progression routes into the industry particularly through high quality apprenticeship programmes
  • Connect children of all ages and their parents with the concept of food growing, where their food comes from, the importance of buying local produce, and how to cook simply from scratch. In effect joining up the supply chain and increasing food knowledge.
  • At the same time helping to address the broader issues of obesity, over consumption of junk food, general health and outdoors activity.

Get Cooking Campaign:  Enterprise Challenge and Schools Challenge

The Get Cooking Campaign started on 23 March with the release of several resources to support Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 teachers with the Growing for the Future resource in the lead up to a Cook-a-Long webinar of making potato bread with Simon and Jilly Dougan from Yellow Door on 24 April 2018.  250 pupils from across 10 primary schools in Northern Ireland took part in the webinar.

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