Apprenticeships cooking up lifelong careers in catering
Besides being celebrity chefs, what do Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay and Clare Smyth have in common? Believe it or not, all three started out as apprentices; working their way to the top to become household names through hard work, dedication and learning.
Young people with a flair for food and interest in ingredients can follow in their footsteps, with no less than 17 apprenticeship vacancies currently available in the thriving catering industry through Gloucestershire College.
Now is the time for young people to decide what they want to do when they finish their GCSEs, and working in catering is a highly skilled, practical and lucrative career path that is ideal for creative, passionate, organised team players – with, of course, a good palate.
Vacancies currently available include:
• Pastry Chef Apprentice at Contemporary Cake Designs (Cheltenham)
• Apprentice Chef at Balcarras School (Cheltenham)
• Apprentice Chef at The Wychwood Inn (Shipton-under-Wychwood)
• Apprentice Commis Chef at Drinkwater at the Mill (Chipping Norton)
• Apprentice Chef at 5 North Street (Winchcombe)
• Apprentice Chef at The Kilkenny Inn (Cheltenham)
• Apprentice Chef at The Merry Fellow Inn (Cheltenham)
• Two Apprentice Chefs and two Front of House Apprentices at Grill Shed at the Docks (Gloucester)
• Two Apprentice Chefs at the Montpellier Lodge (Cheltenham)
• Two Apprentice Chefs and two Front of House Apprentices at Severn and Wye Smokery (Westbury-on-Severn)
• Apprentice Chef at Montpellier Café (Cheltenham)
The catering industry as a whole contributes billions to the UK economy, and is one of the biggest employers of young people in the UK. Those who choose to follow this route can expect to gain the practical experience needed to excel in employment, or even set up their own business; learning how to plan menus, deal with suppliers, manage budgets, monitor and maintain the quality of food and more. Plus, salaries can range up to £50,000 for executive head chefs and general managers of top hotels.
As the leading chef’s training school in the county, with on-site commercial kitchens, state-of-the-art equipment, industry-experienced lecturers and opportunities to cater for external events including Cheltenham Races, Gloucestershire College is the perfect place to kick-start a career in catering as an apprentice.
Each apprentice receives support from a dedicated Training Coordinator and Assessor throughout their apprenticeship, who teaches them valuable, transferable skills to help them grow as a person.
Not only was Michelin-starred celebrity chef Tom Kerridge a former student, but GC has trained some of the finest chefs in the county, including Joe McCarthy, Head Chef at The Wychwood Inn. Joe a successful former GC apprentice, who has already taken on one apprentice himself and is now on the hunt for another.
He said: “I started washing up in a hotel at the age of 14 and watching all the amazing food go out sparked my passion for cooking. My dream is to own my own restaurant one day and my apprenticeship set me on my way to achieve this.
“I changed from a full-time catering course to a work-based apprenticeship at Lords of the Manor Hotel, which suited me better. The lecturers were amazing – passionate, caring and with a real drive to see you succeed.”
Myra Billinghurst, a GC Assessor for catering apprentices, said: “Catering and hospitality can be an extremely creative and rewarding career. In Gloucestershire we have a wealth of amazing hotels and restaurants that employ inspirational chefs who source local ingredients and create fantastic food.
“If you have a passion for food, can multitask and work well under pressure, this is the career for you. I have worked in catering for over 25 years as a head chef and catering manager in England and the USA, and have found it very rewarding. I have never struggled to find work in this constantly growing and ever changing market. It doesn’t matter how technology changes, people still need to eat!”
New apprenticeship vacancies are added to the GC website every day. To apply for any of the catering apprenticeships currently available, call the GC Business Hub on 01452 563400.