First proper day back in the office and a really full day.
Morning meeting with my CEO at DEFA HQ, thorough catch up and briefing for my meeting with the Northern Ireland Agriculture and Fisheries Minister next week. Liaison meeting with Manx NFU, a useful and wide ranging meeting with some agreed joint approaches.
Afternoon meeting with Jo Pretty, the new principal of University College Isle of Man, like me she is new in post and has a vision for a more joined up approach to the colleges department and curriculum as well as working with businesses to ensure that students come out with qualifications that can be used on island. The college offers a wide range of courses through GCSEs, NVQs, B-Techs to BSc and BA degree courses. I was shown around a number of departments relevant to DEFA including the new horticultural department. The horticulture department comes under the heading of construction as there is a large amount of amenity landscaping work involved in that sector so I took the opportunity to have a look at the carpentry and bricklaying combined skills department. All the people training in the construction department and brickwork are already in employment and on day release.
I also looked around the catering department which has been added to and has some impressive facilities including the Cristory’s Restaurant which is operated by catering students including  those training to be chefs. It is open to the public some lunchtimes and evenings offering a la cart menu, now very much on my agenda for the future. They even have an on-licence and wine list. If you are interested in dining there then check with the college for opening days and hours.

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