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The changing face of apprenticeships

In light of GCSE results day (23 August 2018), there will be many school leavers across the country deciding what their next steps will be.

With university graduates racking up debts of £50k on average, and no guaranteed job to show for it, apprenticeships are growing in favour as an alternative further education route to college and university. In fact, in recent years 56,200 workers have enrolled on higher and degree-level apprenticeships, studying a range of qualifications from foundation degree up to a Masters.

Apprenticeships: a focus on the hospitality industry

The prospect of earning while you learn is becoming even more attractive to school leavers. This is especially true when you consider that the majority of entry level apprenticeships in the hospitality sector, not only guarantee a job on completion, but could also see a school leaver potentially earning between £12,000 and £16,000 during the training scheme – rising up to £25,000 if they move into a management position after completing an advanced level apprenticeship.

For businesses looking to attract and retain talent, highlighting the advantages of apprenticeships to 16 to 25-year-olds is a good place to begin. Starting at level 2 and running all the way to degree level, school leavers don’t need to stop their development after doing one apprenticeship and can continue their training throughout their career.

Courses range from Hospitality Team Member and Commis Chef to Hospitality Supervisor and Hospitality Manager, offering those just starting out in their careers plenty of avenues to explore. The room for fast progression is important to showcase as well – there aren’t many other sectors you could be in a supervisory role by 19 or 20 years old, for example.

When it comes to employers within the hospitality industry, investing in training programmes which motivate employees and encourages them to achieve their career goals and aspirations will help to create a dynamic and enthusiastic workforce, while also securing a prosperous future for the industry for years to come.

To bring this to life, the Brend Hotel Group is a glowing example of how nurturing and developing employees through an apprenticeship scheme has led to impressive results.

Brend Hotel Group: demonstrating apprenticeship best practice

Brend Hotel Group is a family-run business, passionate about giving back to the younger generation by offering not only job opportunities to employees at its collection of 11 luxury hotels across the South West, but career pathways.

As part of Brend Hotel Group’s commitment to learning and development, it launched the Brend Training Academy in 2015. The first of its kind in the South West, Brend Hotel Group set up the academy with support from HIT Training – the provider of choice for apprenticeships in the hospitality industry.

In total, 285 learners have enrolled and benefitted from the apprenticeship programme so far, with a further 48 who have joined in the past 12 months. The Brend apprenticeship programme is constantly rolling, with some of its apprentices nearing completion and others just starting their journey.

The Brend Academy has enjoyed a 100% success rate, with all apprentices going into roles within the hotel. In addition, the two apprentices who have so far achieved a ‘distinction’ level as part of the new apprenticeship standards are from the Academy. Brend Hotel Group is an early adopter of the apprenticeship standards, which have been designed to ensure all apprenticeship training is high-quality, rigorous and specifically crafted to develop the knowledge and skills required to work within the hospitality industry.  

The company’s investment in apprenticeships hasn’t just resulted in creating highly-skilled and talented individuals, it has also directly led to genuine business results. Take the Saunton Sands hotel as an example, which has experienced a significant reduction in kitchen turnover.

Currently there are 16 apprentices at Saunton Sands fulfilling roles such as commis chef and chef de partie, as well as front of house positions, including receptionists and waiters.

Commenting on the initiative, HR manager and academy principle at Brend Hotels, Andrew Mosedale, said: “Since launching, the academy has gone from strength-to-strength and provides paid training places for young people from the local area who are keen to pursue a career in the industry. Our apprentices have the opportunity to learn their trade and gain accredited qualifications, all under the close guidance of our managers.”

Robert Bird, regional operations manager at HIT Training, said: “We’ve been working with Brend Hotel Group for the past seven years and I still find the team there an inspiration to this day. They take great pride in training and developing their staff from within, and have welcomed many talented young people into the Brend fold. They have utilised their Apprenticeship Levy effectively and reaped the benefits and rewards from doing so, which is exactly what the Levy is there for. It’s inspiring to watch the apprentices learn and grow, with many going into Management level and beyond.”

Phoenix Di-Giorgi, a Saunton Sands apprentice who recently achieved a distinction, said: “My apprenticeship has given me so much – I’ve gained many skills not just as a chef but in communication, organisation and taking on more responsibility in the workplace. I feel really excited about my future and the opportunities available to me at Saunton Sands. I would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone looking to gain first-hand experience and reach their career objectives.”


by Jill Whittaker, managing director of hospitality training provider, HIT Training

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