Cooking up opportunities in hospitality sector

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Defying the tough economic climate, the hospitality and catering sector continues to thrive and provide a growing range of employment opportunities, both locally and nationally.    

According to a recent report by the British Hospitality Association, hospitality is Britain’s fourth largest industry and was responsible for over one quarter of all new jobs created in the UK from 2010 to 2012.

This is a trend being reflected locally according to East Berkshire College, which currently has over 25 apprenticeship vacancies for budding chefs and front of house staff available at a variety of prestigious hotels, restaurants and gastro pubs in Berkshire.

Angela Coulson, a commercial adviser at the College, said: “With an extensive tourist industry in this area, there are growing opportunities for those looking for a career in the hospitality industry. We are helping an increasing number of local employers to set up apprenticeship schemes to recruit talented individuals, who will grow and develop with their businesses. And many of these employers are recruiting apprentices for the first time.    

“We currently have apprenticeship vacancies at a range of prestigious venues including the Harte & Garter Hotel in Windsor, the River House in Windsor, the Jolly Farmer in Maidenhead and the Michelin starred Royal Oak in Littlefield Green. We would encourage individuals, who are passionate about good food and good service, to get in touch with us or register on the National Apprenticeship Service website.”

An apprentice in the kitchen team at the Sir Christopher Wren Hotel in Windsor, Louis Graham (from Reading) knows first-hand the benefits of the apprenticeship scheme.

Louis said: “After finishing school, I decided I wanted to work rather than study full-time. I’ve always loved cooking, so when I saw this job advertised I applied straight away. This is a dream come true to work in such a prestigious restaurant. I’m working towards a qualification, earning money and gaining lots of experience.”

Combining training at a college with practical skills learnt in the workplace, apprenticeships give people the chance to gain job-specific skills, a qualification and work experience. At the same time, they enable businesses to develop new talent, reduce overall training costs and address skills gaps.

With seven venues across Windsor, WPC Inns is one successful pub and restaurant chain which has already recruited seven apprentices through East Berkshire College’s new Hospitality & Catering Academy.

George Robertson, Operations Manager for WPC Inns, explains: “We took on our first apprentice three months ago at the Royal Stag and we now have seven apprentices throughout the business. The apprentices are already having a very positive impact on the team in terms of their enthusiasm and energy. It is a tough world for businesses at the moment, but apprenticeships are a great way to improve staff retention and develop home-grown talent.”

For details on apprenticeship opportunities in the hospitality sector, please call 01753 443855 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

East Berkshire College now offers a wide range of apprenticeships in areas including IT, Business & Administration, Accounting, Dental Nursing, Engineering and Science. For more details, click here.

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