National Apprenticeship Week 2013: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall among hospitality professionals in support

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: National apprenticeship, Hotel, Apprenticeship, Chef, National apprenticeship service

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, celebrity chef, campaigner and founder of River Cottage, is one of a number of hospitality industry professionals backing this year's National Apprenticeship Week
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, celebrity chef, campaigner and founder of River Cottage, is one of a number of hospitality industry professionals backing this year's National Apprenticeship Week
The sixth National Apprenticeship Week kicks off today with organisers, supported by the hospitality industry, promising it will be the biggest yet; a new report has also said apprentices could contribute £3.4bn a year to the economy.

A growing number of hospitality organisations, businesses and professionals have this year committed their support to the initiative which is co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) and is designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on the economy.

In 2012, 800 events were held​ but restaurants, hotels and pubs and bars are helping to make this year's event the biggest yet. 

Michelin-starred chef Raymond Blanc last week came together with London Mayor Boris Johnson​ to encourage more hospitality businesses to recruit apprentices.

It is a message that appears to be getting through with The River Cottage, Spirit and Premier Inn all supporting this year's National Apprenticeship Week.


Economic contribution

A new report released today by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has forecasted between now and 2022, 3.8 million people will complete an apprenticeship contributing £3.4bn to the UK economy each year in productivity gains.

Charles Davis, head of Macroeconomics at the CEBR said: “The importance of apprenticeships to businesses and the wider UK recovery cannot be underestimated.

"Our research clearly demonstrates the significant contribution that Apprenticeships can make to economic growth. Raising the skills of the UK’s workforce translates into improved UK competitiveness in a challenging post-financial crisis environment," he added.

River Cottage

River Cottage is launching its Young Chef Apprenticeship Scheme to coincide with the week. The programme is the latest initiative to come out of the recently-formed Professional Cookery School.

River Cottage will be training and certificating 40 young people this year for the benefit of restaurants and hotels in the south west. These businesses will be the employers of the young chef apprentices, with the River Cottage team being responsible for their education, assessment and diploma.

Fearnley-Whittingstall said: "With the River Cottage Young Chef Apprenticeship scheme, we aim to strike while the iron is hot, helping to bring even more change and innovation in this area. We’ll be guiding our trainees in all the issues at which River Cottage excels: seasonality, ethical and local sourcing, regional ingredients and traditional, hands-on techniques."

Spirit Pub Company

Spirit Pub Company has this week revealed it will provide work placements to 450 students over the next two years, with 150 to be placed in 2013.

The initiative, known as the Teen Spirit Work Inspirations Programme, has seen the pub company work in partnership with the B-live Foundation to provide nationwide placements in the hospitality sector. 

Jo Bradford, National Qualifications Manager, said: “Our main goal is to encourage students to discard the myth that hospitality jobs are part-time roles or something that you fall into. We have created a range of training schemes, apprenticeships and development programmes that allow us to provide a structured map of career progression within all areas of the business.”


The British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) is celebrating National Apprenticeship Week with the launch of a new partnership with apprenticeship providers Lifetime Training which will take the BII’s apprenticeship out to thousands more learners.

The BII Licensed Hospitality Apprenticeships will be a first for Lifetime Training, offering in-depth education on pub-specific skills including beer and cellar quality and licensed retail operations. The BII apprenticeship is also unique as it’s the only apprenticeship framework that includes the Award for Personal Licence Holders (APLH) as part of the programme.

BII Director of Education & Training Tim Burrows said: "This partnership sends a signal to prospective employees that the pub trade can provide a viable, credible career path for ambitious and talented individuals, and is another nail in the coffin for the out-dated perception that pubs offer only short-term work, for low-skilled and low-pay employees."

Clegg's backing

The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who has long backed apprentices, has welcomed the increased support from businesses towards National Apprenticeship Week:

National Apprenticeship Week 2013 - the hospitality industry gets involved:

  • Premier Inn is opening a new hotel in London Waterloo this week. Employment Minister Mark Hoban will cut the ribbon with the chief executive of the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) David Way. Whitbread will also be announcing a new commitment to creating apprenticeships this week.
  • The Hospitality Guild has joined with partners including People 1st, PACE, the Academy of Culinary Arts and the Institute of Hospitality to deliver a range of events and activities during National Apprenticeship Week as part of its Act NOW! campaign.
  • The Voices of Apprenticeships Conference is being held at The Tower hotel this Wednesday to showcase the benefits of apprenticeships. As part of the event, Ben Purton, executive head chef at The Royal Horseguards hotel and leader of the Guoman & Thistle Hotels apprentice chef scheme, will be taking a group of current apprentices to the event to cook breakfast for the delegates including the Minister of Skills Matthew Hancock MP.
  • A Made by Apprentices lunch for key hospitality industry personnel is the highlight of a week's programme of activity being organised by Charnwood Training Group.

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1 comment

Help for smaller independents in recruiting apprentices?

Posted by,

How will the government help smaller wet-led licensees to recruit apprentices? Pressured at every turn, I'm sure most operators would like to do their bit in helping the industry develop its youth, but an apprentice aged 16 or 17 cannot serve behind the bar unless the transaction is supervised. Payroll limitations, are such that they simply cannot afford to rosta on a member of staff to "babysit".

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