Gail Gallie, chief executive of the Jamie Oliver Foundation, told BigHospitality's sister publication MCA: “After 13 years of running Jamie Oliver’s flagship apprenticeship programme through his Fifteen restaurant in London, we have taken the decision to spread the scheme much wider. We are going to run the scheme with Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group and Jamie’s Italian, which will allow us to take the scheme nationwide in time and to recruit far more chefs into the industry which is what Jamie always wanted.”
Simon Blagden, chief executive of Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group, said: “At the moment we have 12 apprenticeships in place. It is something over the next couple of years where we will get each restaurant housing one or two apprenticeships as a minimum. Some sites will be able to do more depending on the size of the site, but we want to spread it around the country because it is such a positive thing.”
Gallie said: “The reasons behind this decision are twofold. One, when Jamie started the scheme he only had a TV show but obviously things have moved on dramatically since then and he now has a whole restaurant group, which he wants to utilise, bringing more trainees into the industry.
“The other point, as of late Jamie wants to focus the Foundation on education and his lobbying work, advocacy around better, so it makes sense that the other thing he cares about – bringing young people trained in the industry through his restaurant group.”
There is a current cohort of trainees going through the scheme right now and they will graduate in October through Fifteen.
Gaillie said: “We are not going to recruit another dedicated cohort for Fifteen from that point, but look at the wider recruitment scheme. We have already been trialling apprenticeships across the restaurant group, so it will be more like a merger by that point.
“If you think of how many Jamie’s Italian sites there are, say c40, even if we do one a site that is more than double what we are currently doing at Fifteen. So it is a really exciting opportunity to deliver more young people into the industry.”