Barcelo Hotels search for apprentice chefs to plug skills gap

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Vocational education

Apprentices in the Barcelo Apprentice Chef Academy
Apprentices in the Barcelo Apprentice Chef Academy
Barcelo Hotels is looking to recruit 21 apprentice chefs for its latest Barcelo Apprentice Chef Academy (BACA) this November after the scheme proved a successful way to fill vacancies.

The scheme, which the hotel operator introduced two years ago, has proved such a useful way of finding kitchen staff for its 21 UK hotels that it is upping its intake to 21 from the usual 15 this year.

HR director Des Lawson told BigHospitality the company had decided to run the apprenticeship programme because it was finding it hard to find enough skilled chefs to work in its kitchens.

"With the change in immigration regulations a few years ago, it became very difficult to get chefs so we decided to train our own. It's worked really well for us and it's also good for staff retention," he said.

Training programme

Apprentices now undertake a 14 month training programme during which they take part in special workshops and visit producers and suppliers in places such as Smithfields meat market and Brixham fish market.

Lawson feels that involving apprentices in all areas alongside traditional training - they also take an NVQ Level 2 in Food Production and have the chance to progress to Level 3 - is great for staff motivation.

"We have really good supplier support which helps, but apprentices feel as though they are not just working in a kitchen, they feel part of the programme and of the company. I think as long as people feel like they are being developed you will help keep them interested."

New recruits

Barcelo Hotels, which was recently named as one of the Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers, is currently looking for its next recruits for its November programme.

Apprentices will also get the chance to compete to be named Barcelo Apprentice Chef of the Year where the winner gains a work experience placement at one of the group's top hotels in Spain.

To apply or for more information visit​.

Related topics: Business, People, Hotels

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