As 16 year-olds across the country receive their GCSE results today, restaurateurs and head chefs have been urged by the National Apprentice Service (NAS) to take on more apprentices in their kitchens.
The NAS, which is responsible for increasing the number of vocational opportunities in the UK, has promoted the move as a benefit to hospitality workers who want to increase productivity and boost competition in the industry.
Simon Waugh, chief executive of the NAS, told BigHospitality: “Apprenticeships offer employers the opportunity to build a skilled, loyal and productive workforce. It is an extremely valuable opportunity for any organisation whether it applies to the hospitality industry or any other sector.”
JD Wetherspoon, Whitbread and Leisure Connection Limited are some of the many companies that already run successful apprenticeships.
Apprenticeships vs catering college
Marco Pierre White, himself a former apprentice, earlier this year helped the organisation to launch a new viral advertising campaign, promoting the usefulness of apprenticeships.
In an interview with Big Hospitality at the time, he said: “Apprenticeships are very important. When you've got a young person who goes straight from school to catering college, and one who's left school and gone straight into the industry, two years down the line who are you going to employ?
"The one who's had two years in the real world can contribute to my business and I can rely on him. The one who's been to catering college has to start all over again. They've learned very little."
Earlier this year a People 1st report showed that many employers in the hospitality industry find apprentices more productive than other staff and help make their businesses more competitive.
The NAS’ message to industry professionals also follows its annual Young Apprentice of the Year award, which was presented to the Grosevenor Pulford Hotel and Spa trainee chef Todd Lowndes earlier this month.
Waugh said: “I hope the success stories highlighted by the awards encourage organisations and individuals to find out more about Apprenticeships.”
NAS works with a variety of hospitality employers to recruit the right apprentices for suitable jobs. The service plans to make apprenticeships available to all qualified school-leavers by 2013.