MPs are being urged to champion the catering industry to help attract and recruit a new wave of chefs and servers amid the negative images surrounding the industry.
The politicians heard first-hand from apprentices from The Ritz and Park Plaza at the last UK Hospitality Commission evidence session, including the importance of skills training on the job to succeed. The speakers at the session included Sandra Kelly, head of education at Whitbread; Antony Pender, founder and director of Yummy Pub Co; Jill Whittaker, managing director of HIT Training; and Sam Coulstock, business relations director at Umbrella Training. The apprentices included Henry Layton from The Ritz and Oliver Hawkins and Michael Chambers from Park Plaza Hotels.
Workplace essentials include health and safety in the kitchen
Michael emphasised that ‘a CV doesn’t help you cut an onion’. Many of these apprentices will have completed courses in culinary skills, which can pave the way for a career as a chef; alternatively, these skill-based courses can result in apprentices taking on more senior chef roles. The courses give students the opportunity to train to a high standard and some have the option of learning other workplace essentials, such as health and safety at work in a kitchen.
Wide range of skills
According to Remit Group, skills needed in food production include not only the correct use of knives and the art of carving but also learning about the most appropriate ways to chill and freeze food or how to arrange it in a display freezer. Apprentices also require essential knowledge on the use of kitchen appliances, with their training likely to extend to the use of display freezers from suppliers such as https://www.fridgefreezerdirect.co.uk/glass-door-refrigeration/single-glass-door-freezers.
In an ever-changing hospitality industry, skills-based training is a good move. It not only introduces new apprentices but also ensures professionals stay at the top of their game.
The recent session also highlighted the fact that hospitality businesses such as cafes, restaurants and hotels are facing a skills shortage. The politicians heard that employers need a considerable amount of support to ensure that chef and server vacancies are filled.
Recent reports demonstrated that the sector requires an additional 11,000 chefs to enter the industry over the next two years and that around one million new recruits will be needed by 2022.