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Glynn Purnell begins search to recruit two apprentice chefs

By Peter Ruddick , 10-Sep-2012
Last updated on 10-Sep-2012 at 15:32 GMT2012-09-10T15:32:11Z

Michelin-starred Birmingham chef and Great British Menu regular Glynn Purnell has teamed up with the South and City College in the Midlands city to recruit two restaurant apprentices to fill roles in both his restaurant and bistro.

Purnell is encouraging 16-24-year-olds with an interest in making a mark in the hospitality industry to apply as soon as possible for an 11-week Introduction to Cookery course at the college.

All the students on the course will receive mentoring from the chef and spend a placement in the Michelin-starred Purnell's restaurant.

The restaurateur, who in his early career worked on placements with chefs including Gordon Ramsay, Gary Rhodes and Claude Bosi, will then pick two students to become his apprentices.


"We have incredible talent in the Midlands," Purnell said. "Like with everything we need to dig deep to discover it."

"I was once an apprentice and I know how hard it is to get an opportunity to get your foot in the door. Working in partnership with South and City College Birmingham we aim to offer to exceptional students an apprenticeship to work with me and the team at Purnell's restaurant, Ginger's Bar and the newly launched Purnell's Bistro."

The two apprentices, who will be revealed in December, will work closely with the chef and his team at his fine-dining restaurant and Purnell's Bistro, formerly The Asquith Restaurant, which the chef re-opened last week.

The Solihull-born chef also operates the Ginger's bar in the same venue as his bistro concept.

Apprentice chefs

Purnell has become the latest hospitality individual or business to work with apprentice chefs following in the footsteps of Heston Blumenthal and British Airways , operators including hotel group Barcelo  and, most notably, Jamie Oliver with his apprentice programme Fifteen which is marking its tenth anniversary.

Mike Hopkins, principal of the Birmingham college said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for aspiring young chefs in Birmingham. Not only will the students gain a recognised qualification, but they will work with one of the top chefs in the country, learning all the skills they need to give them the best start in their careers."

In 2010 the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) urged restaurateurs and head chefs to consider taking on more apprentices  in their kitchens.

Last month Lifeline, one of the NAS training providers, welcomed Government changes to the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE) fund which it says will make it easier for medium-sized hospitality businesses to take on apprentices.