This year 26 new restaurants are set to open in Newcastle city centre alone, and concerns are being raised over the growing demand for skilled restaurant staff.
As a result NE1 – a business improvement company - has teamed up with Fat Buddha, Babucho, 21 Group and Newcastle College’s Lifestyle Academy to create an eight-week on-the-job training course.
The programme will initially be open to fourteen 16 – 24 years olds and provide an NVQ Level 1 qualification in Hospitality.
It is expected to lead directly into either a job or Apprenticeship for participants.
If the course is successful NE1 said they hoped it would be repeated with a greater number of trainees and the involvement of more restaurants.
Stephen Patterson, director of communications at NE1 Ltd said: “The growth in the restaurant industry in Newcastle is great news for the city, but staffing these new venues with good quality staff can be difficult."
Bob Senior, owner and MD of Fat Buddha restaurant, said: “We pride ourselves on our staff and we invest heavily in attracting and retaining the best – but it is becoming increasingly difficult to attract young people into the industry.
“We wanted to run an on-the-job taster course that gives young people the chance to experience first-hand what it is like to work in a fast-paced restaurant environment and hope that it will encourage them and others to consider a rewarding career in the industry.”
Prospective course participants are invited to attend a launch event at Fat Buddha restaurant on Tuesday 26 January at 5pm to meet the restaurant and college staff and find out more details.
North East growth
The North East restaurant industry is booming, with the region outpacing London for pub and restaurant openings over the past five years.
In December Michelin chef James Close of The Raby Hunt in Darlington told BigHospitality of his excitement in the growing North East food scene and predicted a rise in Michelin-recognised restaurants in the area over the next few years.
Close was joined in the 2016 Michelin Guide by Kenny Atkinson after his Newcastle restaurant House of Tides gained its first star. Last year Atkinson was forced to increase capacity at the restaurant to cope with rising diner demand.