Think back to your university years. What got you through all those late nights at the library, that bad mark for a "too emotionally involved" essay on The Bell Jar, and the existential crisis-inducing first semester that saw you break up with your high school boyfriend and give yourself a homemade haircut in the same week?A strong network of supportive friends and family? An insatiable urge to plunder the depths of academia and "get to grips" with your chosen subject matter?
Nah. Meat Feast, extra cheese, hold the jalapeños and 24-hour home delivery, 30 mins or less guaranteed. By the end of those three years, you probably knew the delivery guy better than your academic advisor.While pizza is the lifeblood of many a kitchen-averse university student, the cheese-laden pie has never been considered something worth studying. Until now.
This week, Manchester Metropolitan University announced that it would be creating 1,500 apprenticeships in partnership with everyone's favourite Chicken Supreme and unlimited ice cream-purveyor, Pizza Hut.Taking place over the next five years, the degree-level programme will train 'za-loving students in food production and financial analysis. Some will study at the university, while others will be trained within Pizza Hut.According to the restaurant chain, the apprenticeships will combine academic and practical skills to "equip [candidates] with skills for life, not just for working in a restaurant."Sadly, little else was revealed about exactly what finds its way onto a pizza studies curriculum. Are there scholarly debates on Chicago-style versus New York? Can you get extra credit for correctly naming every Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle? Tell me Colin Atrophy Hagendorf's Memoir in Pizza is a set text.
In a statement to Manchester Evening News, Pizza Hut HR and marketing director Kathryn Austin did note that the programme would be about more than boxing slices. She said: "Over the next few years, we will work hard to provide our apprentices and team members with the best training and development so that we can equip them with skills for life, not just for working in a restaurant."The government's skills minister Nick Boles seemed similarly buoyant at the news that pizza is getting the academic probing it deserves. Also reported by the newspaper, he said: "I would encourage more businesses to take the lead from companies like Pizza Hut Restaurants to start or expand their apprenticeship programmes."Watch this space for a Nando's-sponsored degree in PERi-PERi studies.