Times are changing within the education market. Debate was raging on about the decision of the government to turn all schools into academies by 2020 until last week’s unforeseen u-turn. But the threat is still there with a shift from all to most.
Speculation is rife over the ongoing fate of local authorities, once the sole provider of budgets and control over schools. What it means is that schools and colleges will be increasingly responsible for their own budgeting.
This is all very well with items such as school equipment, paper, books and associated purchases. There are already established and specialist vendors for these types of materials. But when it comes to buying kitchen equipment, many schools and colleges are inexperienced and frankly, don’t know where best to turn.
The purchase of a catering appliance is vastly different from buying a domestic oven. And once the purchase has been made, it doesn’t end there. An oven has to be regularly serviced and maintained to prevent any unforeseen catastrophes occurring which, in schools and colleges, could mean a lot of pupils going hungry!
Since September 2014, all schools have to provide free school lunches for pupils who qualify. This has meant that educational establishments have been busier with kitchen refurbishment and upgrade than ever before.
Historically, AC Services (Southern) has been responsible for maintaining a number of Rational ovens within the region. Currently we have been requested to service 42 schools with some 70 appliances total across Gloucestershire on a contract that has recently been renewed.
But our experience of the educational sector’s needs is much wider ranging from Oxford colleges, private schools to FE colleges with many on one of our maintenance contracts .
According to Helen Hagger, MD at AC Services, one of the main priorities is educating the owners about the benefits of regular servicing.
“Many ovens may be in warranty still but they also need a regular service to make sure they are working properly and performing to their optimum levels,” she advises. “We are dedicated to working with our customers in the education sector to ensure that all schools and colleges comply with the standards for food that the government and other organisations demand.”
In addition, Rational is helping make life easier for cooks with the recent launch of a new app allowing users of the Rational SelfCookingCenter to operate the system from an iPhone or iPad. If connected to the same network, the screen content of the SelfCookingCenter is transferred and displayed in full to the remote device.
“This app is extremely useful to school cooks and head chefs who are juggling other responsibilities,” continues Helen. “As a long-term partner with Rational, we are doing our bit by ensuring that the ovens are serviced regularly.
We have a range of service packages to suit every budget, and our aim is to make owners and decision-makers schedule downtime for the appliances for maintenance. So whether you are primary school, academy, private or public school, university or further education establishment, as long as you are in our area we can help you.”
So give Helen and the team a call on 01454 322 222 to find out more.