Jason Atherton backs new hospitality traineeship

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Young people, Training, Apprenticeship

(L-R): Wendy Hewitt (West Cornwall Pasty Company); James Buckley (Genuine Dining); Jill Whittaker (HIT), Jason Atherton; John Hyde (HIT); Simon Slidel (Bailbrook House Hotel) ; Alex Taylor (Harrison Catering)
(L-R): Wendy Hewitt (West Cornwall Pasty Company); James Buckley (Genuine Dining); Jill Whittaker (HIT), Jason Atherton; John Hyde (HIT); Simon Slidel (Bailbrook House Hotel) ; Alex Taylor (Harrison Catering)
Jason Atherton, the Michelin-starred chef-proprietor of Pollen Street Social, was among those in attendance at the recent launch of a new, nationwide Traineeship Programme from hospitality apprenticeship provider HIT.

The programme, which aims to give 16-23-year-olds their first step into employment, combines work preparation and employment skills, functional skills in maths and English with specific industry training, and valuable ‘on the job’ practical work experience.

It has been created in response to the Government’s new traineeship initiative, which was introduced following employer feedback that many young people lack the basic skills for employment.

Atherton, who started his own career through the Youth Training Scheme in the 1980’s, was on-hand at last week’s launch to oversee a kitchen staffed by HIT apprentices and their trainer-assessors.  

“The great thing about the hospitality industry is that if you can show some passion and flair, you can go far,” said the chef. “It’s crucial that young people are given the opportunity to get into this amazing industry. Traineeships like this enable people like me to take young people into the kitchen and give them a chance to grow.”

Direct pathway

Jill Whittaker, managing director of HIT, added: “Traineeships are part of the same family as apprenticeships but they are aimed at those young people who are having difficulty getting into work because they don’t have sufficient qualifications or any work experience.

“The new traineeships are a genuine opportunity to get people who are currently on benefits, into work and into jobs. The programme aims to improve their personal skills set and either provide the learner with a direct pathway into an apprenticeship or employment, or equip them with better Maths and English skills, practical experience, a reference and equally importantly, proof on their CV of their willingness to learn and work.

“There is real value in giving young people a set of transferable skills which they can then take through their whole lifetime.”

Quick progression

Other guests at the launch included Martine Pullen, head of pre-employment and apprenticeships at People 1st; Nick Dugard, City & Guilds territory business manager; and a range of employers including Cath Young, Youth Hostel Association Learning and Development Business Partner. Representatives of the first four employers to commit to HIT traineeships - the West Cornwall Pasty Company, Genuine Dining, the Bailbrook House Hotel and Harrison Catering - were also in attendance.

The core content of all traineeships, the duration of which will be a maximum of six months, will be a high-quality work placement and training plus English and Maths if trainees have not already achieved a minimum GCSE Grade C in those subjects. Available for those aged 16-23 and for young people with Learning Difficulty Assessments aged up to 25, the aim of traineeships is to secure young people’s progression to an apprenticeship or sustainable employment as quickly as possible. 

On Monday BigHospitality reported that Your Future in Hospitality, a new Isle of Wight-based initiative from HTP Training which looks to attract more young people into the hospitality industry, was welcomed by Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur Chris Galvin.

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