The free 12-month program is open to young chefs under the age of 25 in full-time employment at a Scottish hospitality business. It is offered under the Government’s Modern Apprentice scheme with over 450 people already enrolled.
Unlike other apprenticeship courses offered by educational institutions, the Tennent’s Training Modern Apprenticeship aims to go a step further, giving apprentices 11 free masterclasses at the Academy, and the opportunity to take part in regular field trips to learn about the sourcing of ingredients and seasonality.
In addition, they will receive monthly site visits and training sessions in their own workplace from a qualified trainer. It also gives them membership to the Federation of Chefs for Scotland and a Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) Level 2 or 3 in Professional Cookery.
Lead chef SVQ assessor Mark Porter, who came up with the idea, told BigHospitality: “It was born out of what I felt was a social responsibility. A lot of the best chefs and the best people in our industry just tend to go out and work, like I did.
“I wanted to just try and work at the best restaurant I possibly could and I missed out on my qualifications. Later on in life, as I tried to move into teaching, it hampered me – I had to go back and do them. So as soon as I heard about the Modern Apprenticeship Scheme and the funding that’s available, I jumped at the chance.”
The Apprenticeship is entirely Government-funded, coming at no cost to the young chef of the employer. Tennent’s has recently partnered with the Macdonald Hotels to run the scheme across its sites in Scotland, and Porter hopes more businesses will want to get on-board.
“Macdonald Hotels have been looking for ways to increase the training of their chefs. They already have an in-house scheme for the front-of-house but nothing for the kitchen. So we’ve just launched our scheme within the group and it doesn’t cost them anything.
“We do hope to form more of these partnerships and ultimately increase the uptake. We offer something that no one else offers at the moment - never before has there been an opportunity for chefs across Scotland to work in their kitchens, train to a nationally recognised standard and have the opportunity to come together to learn from suppliers, chefs and specialists in the industry.”
Each month a chef’s assessor/tutor will come to their kitchen and run through a particular topic, taking time to teach them skills and answer any questions they may have. The assessor will look at some of the dishes on the menu covered in this topic and, working with the head chef, make the teaching relevant to that particular kitchen.
Over the course of the year, a chef’s assessor will build their portfolio for them, so there will be very little written work required.Through the monthly visits, they will then document what has been covered so all the chefs have to concentrate on is the cooking. Students can start the course at any point throughout the year and it will finish 1 year later.