American restaurant and bar chain Fridays has set out an aim to hire apprentices at each of its 85 UK sites, plus each functional area in its support centre, within the next two years as part of its 'Leading The Way' initiative; a refreshed apprenticeship scheme it is launching in partnership with training provider Lifetime.
Amid ongoing struggles with staffing across the hospitality sector, the scheme is designed to showcase the value of jobs in the sector with programmes available ranging from level 2 (entry-level) up to level 5 (regional directors) and take a minimum of 12 to 16 months to complete.
The programmes are all ‘earn while you learn’, and can be completed at the participants’ own pace alongside their jobs at Fridays.
All apprentices will have access to an online learning platform that includes a tailored learning plan, e-learning resources and a ‘skills radar’ to track progress against various milestones.
At the end of the scheme, participants receive a nationally recognised apprenticeship standard from the Institute of Apprenticeships.
We’ve always been committed to investing in their development but after the rollercoaster of the last two years, we want to reinforce our efforts to meet that commitment," says Karen Barnard, people and culture director at Fridays.
"Our new apprenticeship scheme is a key part of that.
“Apprentices can join us from any part of the UK, at any age, in any job role. The culture and heritage at Fridays is built on pride, passion and personality. We want people who want to have fun, engage with others, and learn new skills and progress in a supportive and inclusive atmosphere.
“Our vision is to be an industry leader in offering career opportunities to people across the UK, and our goal of one apprentice in every store and functional area in our support centre in the next two years is the first step towards that vision becoming a reality.”
'Future proofing' the industry
In Scotland, Fairmont St Andrews, part of the Accor UK portfolio, has expanded its Junior Hotelier Apprenticeship program by offering graduates the opportunity to complete a business degree in partnership with Dundee University, alongside six-month rotations in different departments across the luxury hotel.
The apprentices will attend university once a week as part of the scheme, with successful graduates receiving their Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQ) along with a BSc (Hons) in Business Management upon completion of the program. The Junior Hotelier Apprenticeship develops young talent in the hospitality industry by offering six-month rotations in different departments throughout the luxury hotel, providing apprentices with practical experience in the sector whilst earning a national living wage.
Apprentices in the program gain experience in departments including the kitchen; housekeeping; food and beverage venues; front desk, green keeping; and business administration such as finance, human resources, sales, marketing and events.
“One of the biggest challenges we are facing now in the industry is maintaining the talent pool for hospitality and keeping the drive for young leaders," says John Keating, general manager at Fairmont St Andrews.
"Future proofing the industry with educational opportunities is paramount. As we welcome our new undergraduates to the program, I look forward to sharing the passion, vision and expertise of my team with the next generation of hospitality leaders. Ours is an incredibly special industry that has been hard hit in the last two years and I am proud and honoured that so many young talents are committing to the sector and to its future.
Elsewhere, Greene King has developed new back-of-house academies in order to help train the next generation of chefs for the business.
Launched to coincide with National Apprenticeship Week, the masterclass academies have been developed in conjunction with TV chef and presenter Joe Hurd and are designed to develop chefs understanding and skills through live demonstrations at venues across the UK.
Greene King has also announced the provision for 450 apprenticeships across the UK this year, which include front and back-of-house roles in pubs and hotels, as well as programmes in leadership and management in the brewery, or within the property, finance and logistics side of the business.
More than 1,600 apprentices either started or finished an apprenticeship course at Greene King in 2021.
“It’s great to mark National Apprenticeship Week with news of our 450 live opportunities for people across the country and the start of our new Chef Academy," says Andrew Bush, chief people officer at Greene King.
“Our apprentices are our future business leaders. We see these programmes as the perfect foundations to build for the future, learn and earn at the same time.”
The Hospitality Apprenticeship Showcase returns
This Wednesday (9 February) also sees the return of The Hospitality Apprenticeship Showcase (HAS), which will take place in the Terrace Pavilion and Churchill Room of the House of Commons in London's Westminster.
Now in its sixth year, HAS unites companies to portray the diverse range of roles within the sector and to reiterate the importance of cross-party support to ensure the hospitality sector has the right foundations to continue to thrive in our towns, cities and villages.
So far, more than 1,000 apprentices from the hospitality sector have showcased their skills and have met with Lords, Ladies, and MPs as they celebrate National Apprenticeship Week in the House of Commons.
This year’s event will be hosted by Mike Wood MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group.
“It is now more important than ever that we promote hospitality as a viable, stable career prospect for both young people, and indeed people of all ages," says Wood.
“As we navigate the economic and social downturn as we emerge from this pandemic, I am certain that hospitality will prosper as it rebuilds with first class learning and development programmes, investing in lasting careers.”