Mitchells & Butlers restaurant brand Browns has invested £150k in launching an apprenticeship scheme in a bid to help address the staff shortage across the sector and better develop its staff for the future.
Sixty apprentices have been enrolled on the 12 month scheme, organised through Apprentice 1st , which places them in chef and front-of-house positions at its 26 sites and gives them the chance to combine on-the-job training with a recognised qualification.
Apprentices will be paid a 'competitive rate' with chef apprentices able to gain the Level 2 Professional Cookery Apprenticeship and front-of-house apprentices able to gain the Level 2 Food & Beverage Apprenticeship by the end of their year.
Level of training
Vanessa Hall, brand operations director for Browns said well trained staff was 'critical' to the success of the company so the scheme had been set up to help secure its future. She said the aim was to offer 100 places each year and give all trainees a full-time contract.
“We are proud of our loyal and highly skilled work force and the launch of the apprentice scheme can only enhance this," she said.
"A career in catering is sometimes overlooked but we’re looking to change those perceptions by offering a really high level of training. We are offering extremely competitive rates of pay which are the equivalent to the full rate for the jobs being performed, plus they receive training and nationally recognised qualification at the end of the 12-month training period.
"Well trained front of house teams and chefs are critical to the success of our business and the standards of the apprenticeship course reflect this.”
Importance of apprenticeships
David Way, chief executive of the National Apprenticeship Service praised the launch of the scheme.
“The launch of Mitchells & Butlers / Browns Apprenticeship programme shows the importance that leading employers are placing on apprenticeships to help recruit and train talented young people to become the high quality chefs and hospitality professionals they need for their growing business," he said.
Meanwhile, hospitality operators are also being urged to take advantage of the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE Grant) which ends in March 2013. Under terms of the scheme, employers receive a grant of up to £1,500 for every apprentice aged between 16 and 24 they take on.
Charnwood Training Company's managing director Gerwyn House, whose company finds apprentices for hospitality businesses and offers training schemes, underlined the importance of apprenticeships to the future of the industry and to individual businesses.
“The evidence in favour of apprenticeships is undisputable, he said. "One leading national employer that we work with reports unprecedented levels of retention since implementing a group-wide apprenticeship programme, and that like for like sales are up in sites with an embedded apprenticeship culture verses those without.”