From education to employment

Are we edging into a new era for apprenticeships?

Phoenix De-Giorgi

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

We’re all aware that university is traditionally one the most popular routes for students to pursue after school. However, with recent UCAS figures revealing that applications to university in the UK were down by 5% last year, could this be a sign of change on the horizon?

With social and economic factors to consider, the higher education market is becoming increasingly competitive. And, with university graduates racking up debts of £50k on average, and no guaranteed job to show for it, it’s no surprise that apprenticeships are growing in favour as an alternative further education route. 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.

To bring this to life, Phoenix De-Giorgi, 18, is a shining example of a school leaver who opted for the apprenticeship route and has progressed in leaps and bounds ever since.

When starting out as a chef, Phoenix knew he wanted “a hands-on experience” to help hone his skills in hospitality. So, when offered the opportunity to do a level 2 commis chef apprenticeship at The Brend Hotel Group’s Saunton Sands site, he jumped at the chance.

Phoenix is one of the first apprentices in the hospitality industry to complete the new apprenticeship standards and has achieved a distinction with the help of HIT Training and The Brend Hotel Group.

With this support, Phoenix has not only gained new skills but has now progressed to a level 3 Chef-De-Partie apprenticeship and is responsible for showing new chefs how the kitchen works.

Brend Hotels was an early adopter of the new 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.

Phoenix De Giorgi BSpeaking about his decision to do an apprenticeship, Phoenix 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.”

When asked why he chose to do an apprenticeship with The Brend Hotel Group, Phoenix said:

“All the staff have this amazing ability to solve problems when they arise and still serve A-class dishes to all our customers. It is such an inspirational environment to be part of as everyone loves their job, which means I’m inspired and constantly driven to do my best at all times too.

“My apprenticeship has given me the tools to be able to jump into any job that needs doing, I am able to provide a helping hand, which goes a long way in a kitchen as everyone is busy. Without HIT Training and the team at Saunton Sands I wouldn’t have gained the skills I have now.”

Jill Whittaker, Managing Director at HIT Training

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