White, who started in the industry as an apprentice himself, launched the pubco’s apprenticeship programme which aims to help 700 up-and-coming staff working in its pubs and restaurants across the UK.
Jonathan Webster, managing director of Greene King’s Destination Pubs and Restaurants division, said: “Our aim is not to just provide a ‘pub job’ but to offer a clear career path for our employees. Our Discovery Apprenticeship programme allows our employees to gain qualifications while gaining hands-on experience on the job.
“We hope our current apprentices will become our house managers, regional managers, development chefs and even directors of the future, and we might even have a future Michelin star rated chef among this crop of apprentices.”
White hosted a master class cookery demonstration for eight apprentices, each nominated by their Business Development Managers. He talked about his own work ethic as an apprentice and his belief that good training and work experience is a passport to the world.
Former apprentice Chris Stanbrook also attended the master class. The 29-year-old said: “Marco is an inspiration and it was an amazing experience to meet him. I couldn’t believe my luck when I heard that Marco would be preparing two fish dishes. To be able to get tips from one of the greats like him was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all of us.”
The programme has been introduced to train and develop employees across the pub company’s 2,400 pubs, including its Hungry Horse and Old English Inn pub chains, Loch Fyne Restaurants and its main brewery site.
With over 250 employees already having completed apprenticeships, 425 currently in training and with plans to extend the programme to over 1300 further employees in 2012, Greene King is set to become one of the largest providers of hospitality-based apprenticeships in the UK. Around 70 per cent of the company’s apprentices are 24 years old or younger.
For more information about Greene King’s Discovery apprenticeship programme visit: www.greenekingcareers.co.uk.