The qualification has been tailored to caterers for patients in a health and social-care setting and covers potential diet and appetite issues to be considered.
Those enrolled on the course will receive specific training on the needs of dysphagia sufferers, who experience swallowing difficulties, and the ways the condition impacts diets and menus.
The qualification was designed by the Institute of Hospitality in association with the Hospital Caterers Association (HCA) and National Association of Care Catering (NACC).
HIT Training will work in partnership with St Andrew’s Healthcare, a charity that provides specialist mental healthcare.
Paul Mannering, principal of HIT Training’s Chef Academy, said: “It’s fantastic to see an employer investing in its chefs and helping them to strengthen their repertoire with a specific discipline.
“Catering for those with dysphagia is a hugely important skill to have in a health and social-care setting. Not least, having the additional skills to prepare dysphagic food in an attractive way, exploring creative use of textures to give patients and residents greater visual recognition and enjoyment of their food.
He added: “We’re immensely excited by this partnership with St Andrew’s. By tapping into the expertise of their existing chefs we have created a highly practical and relevant training programme specifically designed to meet the development needs of their business.
“We encourage others in this sector to follow St Andrew’s lead – training is a great way to strengthen a business’ offering by upskilling its employees and, in turn, benefiting from the positive ripple effect this has on employee attraction and retention rates.”
Vicky Wheatley, learning and development manager at St Andrew’s Healthcare, said: “Working in a mental health setting, we’re delighted to be able to offer our chefs vital knowledge and expertise around dysphagia, which isn’t available through most other training programmes.
“HIT Training has worked closely with us to understand our training requirements and offer us a bespoke programme.
She added: “This qualification is invaluable to us; it will enable the charity to provide a specialist catering service that gives our chefs the flexibility to stretch their creative muscles and prepare meals with fresh ingredients, with the confidence that they’re meeting the individual needs of our residents.”