Vocational Qualification in Hotel, Restaurant and Catering Services
Since 1995 Varia has offered the opportunity to study Hotel, Restaurant and Catering Services in English.
The objective of the study program is that the student will be able to work as a cook in the hospitality industry. Furthermore, the study program gives qualifications to work within the industry in several other positions as well.
The study program is designed to give students the necessary skills which are required in the hospitality industry - such as basic skills in cooking, customer service, mathematics, computer studies etc. The Study Program contains on-the-job learning (practical training). On-the-job learning enables students to integrate to the Finnish working life.
The application period in spring 2018 has now ended. Next time you can apply in autumn 2018.
Due to a very large amount of applications, the first priority is applicants who have lived in Finland for more than 2 years and who already know some Finnish. Varia students are required to participate into customer service in the Varia College Restaurant very early on in their studies, and the clientele at the restaurant is primarily Finnish speaking.
The Study Programme of a restaurant cook consists of 180 credits and it takes about 2,5 years to complete. Studies contain both practical and theoretical studies. An average study load during one week is 30 hours, usually between 8 am and 4 pm. Both autumn and spring semesters follow the normal Finnish school schedule.
In Varia there are several different study programs but only the education of a restaurant cook is available in English. Currently there are students from 30 countries studying at our multicultural education program. The average age of the students has been approximately 27 years.
The main aim of the study program is to give qualifications which enable the holder of the certificate to work as a cook in a restaurant. Although the study language is English, studying Finnish is also an important part of the studies - both theoretically with a Finnish teacher and combined with practical studies in the kitchen, so that after studies students are able to work in Finnish speaking working environments. An important goal is that all our students are employed at graduation.
General studies (Such as mathematics, IT, Finnish language, English etc.)
The purpose of the general studies is to provide skills and information which are closely related to a cook's profession. The holder of the certificate is entitled to apply for further studies, usually to the Degree Programme at the Universities of Applied Studies, where these more academic skills are required. One very important part of the studies are Finnish lessons, which prepare students for working in Finnish-speaking environments in Finland.
Customer care (Such as waiting on tables, hotel service etc.)
Basic skills in customer service are one part of the studies because hospitality industry requires employees to have wide professional skills. For example, in small restaurants and during rush hours cooks are expected to work as customer servants, too. Some students even choose to work on the service side after graduation.
Cooking and food production
(food production in restaurant, menu planning, meal entities, nutrition etc.)
During the first year basic cooking skills are studied in the training kitchen, as well as the use of machines and utensils, ingredients, hygiene, nutrition etc. During the second and third year food production is mainly studied at the school's training restaurant and/or in real-life banquet functions.
Every student will complete on-the-job learning periods during their studies. On-the-job learning means working in an institutional kitchen, restaurant kitchen or in a hotel as an additional member of the staff. Instead of studying in the school, students get to apply into practise their theoretical skills, e.g. knowledge of different ingredients, measuring and recipes, cutting and slicing and other learnt practical skills. The students’ work is done under the guidance and support of their supervisors and they are given an excellent opportunity to learning-by-doing in everyday working life.
On-the-job learning enables students to see what the real working life within the hospitality industry is like.
The duration of the on-the-job-learning period is two-four months per year, and it is, in most cases, done without salary.
On-the-job-learning periods are carried out within the hospitality industry primarily in the capital area (Helsinki, Vantaa, Espoo) due to the fact that good co-operation has been established between Vantaa Vocational College Varia and different work places around the capital area.
Usually the alternatives for the workplace depend on the student’s skills (first year, second year or third year student), the student’s personal interest (institutional kitchen, fine dining, ethnic cuisine etc.) and the student’s motivation level and situation in life (ambitious single person, single parent of two etc.). In the end of the on-the-job learning period a thorough evaluation is done on student’s performance in the workplace by the designated supervisor in that particular workplace.
All in all, the on-the-job learning periods are expected with joy and excitement on the students’ behalf, and the experiences gained from that time are valued highly and are in most cases positive ones.
Cost of study
Education in Vantaa Vocational College Varia is free of charge and so is a daily lunch. At the beginning students are required to purchase themselves uniforms, one for the kitchen and one for the customer service, and professional shoes and a set of knives. All this adds up to approx. 300 €.