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In a bid to grow new talent for its award-winning restaurant, Sir Christopher Wren Hotel and Spa in Windsor has recruited its first apprentice with the help of East Berkshire College's new Hospitality & Catering Academy.

Under the guidance of the Senior Chef de Partie, new apprentice Louis Graham (17, from Reading) is working as part of the hotel's nine-strong kitchen team that create a mouth-watering array of fine dishes and delicacies for guests.

Louis Graham, who is undertaking an apprenticeship in professional cookery, said: "After finishing school, I decided I wanted to work rather than study full-time. I've always loved cooking and studied GCSE cookery, so when I saw this job advertised on the National Apprenticeship Service website I applied straight away.

"This is a dream come true to work in such a prestigious restaurant. I thought I'd be just peeling potatoes at first, but I have worked here a month now and I've learnt so much already. I'm working towards a qualification, earning money and gaining lots of experience. I definitely learn better by doing things every day on the job and I am finding out about the pressures of working in a busy professional kitchen. Working in a place like this is an amazing start to my career. The world is my oyster!"

As a renowned four-star hotel, Sir Christopher Wren recognises the benefit of investing in recruiting and developing new talent.

Sarah-Jane Nicholls, HR Manager at Sir Christopher Wren Hotel, explains: "We wanted to find new talent for the kitchen, which would grow with us and really understand the culture of the hotel. This is the first time we have supported an apprentice and it is a great opportunity for an enthusiastic young person, like Louis, to work their way up to commis chef. Louis has settled into the team really well and has really boosted team morale.

"As a company, it is fantastic to have access to a local training facility and play a part in developing fresh talent for the industry. East Berkshire College has made the whole process of setting up an apprenticeship programme very easy for us, from advising on funding to recruitment. The College was even able to screen CVs for us and send through candidates that matched our criteria, which saved us valuable time. We would certainly look to take on more apprentices in the kitchen, and possibly other areas, in the future."

As a thriving industry both locally and nationally, the hospitality and catering sector offers a variety of career paths in hotels, restaurants, bars and conference centres. The College's new courses reflect this, covering a wide range of aspects including food safety, professional cookery, food and beverage service, housekeeping and front of house operations.

As well as the more traditional trade-based apprenticeships, the College now offers a range of new apprenticeships in areas such as Business Administration, Accounting, Customer Service and Hospitality & Catering. An increasing range of new higher apprenticeships (Level 4) are also available, offering a more affordable and convenient alternative to university.

For further information on East Berkshire College and its range of full-time and part-time hospitality and catering courses, call 01753 793000 or visit www.eastberks.ac.uk.

Businesses interested in finding out more about apprenticeships and workplace training can contact East Berkshire College on 01753 443855 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..






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