National Apprenticeship Week: How to get your hospitality business involved

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: National apprenticeship, Apprenticeship, Vocational education

Maddie Baker, 18, is taking part in Hilton Worldwide's Chef Apprenticeship Academy
Maddie Baker, 18, is taking part in Hilton Worldwide's Chef Apprenticeship Academy
With the fifth annual National Apprenticeship Week kicking off today, businesses from across the UK have told BigHospitality what they’re doing to take on more apprentices and increase the number of vocational opportunities in the industry.

The Week, which is co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS), is designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they can have on individuals and businesses.

“Apprenticeships provide businesses with a significant return on investment by increasing productivity and introducing fresh new talent and innovation to organisations,” said Simon Waugh, chief executive of the NAS. “National Apprenticeship Week is a time to celebrate and highlight these successes.”

Hilton’s Chef Apprentice Academy

Hilton Worldwide has unveiled plans to recruit 50 budding chefs to join its Chef Apprenticeship Academy. The Academy will offer students a 12-month apprenticeship, which combines on-the-job training from some of the company’s most talented chefs, with either college-based courses or hotel based master classes.

Ben Bengougam, vice president of human resources for Hilton Worldwide Europe, said: “The Chef Apprenticeship Academy is aimed at nurturing and developing a new generation of chefs, with each apprentice having the prospect of a full-time commis chef role on completion of the programme.”

Chef apprentice Maddie Baker, 18, added: “I’ve learned so much already and I’m thankful that I’ve found a scheme that gives me on the job training as well as a nationally recognised qualification. It’s a fantastic way to learn, earn and be part of a global company.”

Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen

Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant – a unique training programme which was the subject of channel 4's Jamie's Kitchen series – is also getting on board for the Week. All fifteen of the restaurant’s apprentices will be taking part in an activity based on The Apprentice TV series.

They will be split into two teams and given two days to plan and prepare a food product which they will then give out to members of the public in the hope that they will donate some money to them. Each team will have a £200 loan, which they must repay in full when in profit.

The Food and Drink Federation

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) is rolling out a series of regional road shows across the country to inform food companies of the benefits apprentices can bring to their business.

The FDF will be working with the NAS and the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink to run workshops across the UK. The workshops, kicking off at the Food and Drink Expo at the NEC Birmingham on 26 March, are designed to assist food businesses who want to understand the business benefits of apprenticeships or who are interested in expanding their existing activity.

Nick Clegg: Video message

The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has underlined his support for apprenticeships and urged other businesses to get involved with the below video message.

Previous apprenticeship initiatives in hospitality:

This time last year, BigHospitality also reported that People 1st launched an apprenticeship strategy aimed at helping hospitality businesses meet their staff needs and improving the long-term performance of the sector. Click here​ to view its six-point strategy.

For more information on National Apprenticeship Week, visit

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