Mathew Bryant, Apprentice Manager Megan Beale, Apprentice Chef

Mathew, an Apprentice Manager, decided to do an apprenticeship because he enjoyed his waiting job and knew this route would help him achieve his career goal by learning and working at the same time. He works in each department of the hotel to learn the different aspects of management and so far, has learnt how the reception and kitchen areas work individually, and as part of the hotel.

Mathew said: “The best thing about my apprenticeship so far was visiting one of the sister hotels to see how it is run and experience different environments. When doing my exams at college, I received a lot of support from my Training Coordinator at GC, as well as the Head Chef at the hotel, who would allow time for me to complete my course work and test me in the kitchen.

“My apprenticeship works for me because it has enhanced my skills and I get to do a job I enjoy which fits in with my life. I am hoping the hotel will offer me a permanent career job upon completion.”

Megan, an Apprentice Chef, always loved cooking and was inspired by successful chefs such as Heston Blumenthal and Adriano Zumbo. She was always more of a kinaesthetic learner and knew a practical apprenticeship would work best for her.

She said: “In the kitchen I help with ordering, menu planning, kitchen section preparation, evening service and the closing paperwork. When I complete my apprenticeship, I want to travel and learn about different foods from around the world; with an end goal of opening my own restaurant.

“I’ve enjoyed the college side of my learning and the hotel’s Head Chef has been a great support, coming up with dishes that push me and extend my knowledge.”

Gavin Dron, Director of Operations for Classic Hotels, believes that the industry is struggling find the future quality of managers and skilled employees that by supporting apprentices they can train and develop individuals who show the desire to be part of the industry; offering long-term employment and development opportunities for the rest of their lives.

He said: “Apprentices challenge the business in the way it currently operates and look to bring new modern ideas into place. Initially they are an expense to the business but through training and development they soon become a valuable addition, providing a high degree of commitment and skill, often in multiple departments.

“Our apprentices learn a wide range of skills, including the confidence to work in different departments; an ability to identify good and bad operations; technical skills relating to hospitality; interpersonal and many transferable skills.”

The company chose Gower College as its training provider as it offered the right courses to support the apprentices’ roles. Gavin added: “We are well-supported by the Training Coordinator, who visits our apprentices regularly to check their progress at work and on the modules they are completing as part of their professional qualifications.

“Apprenticeships work for us because as a small business within a large industry, we struggle to recruit future managers and key personnel. The hotel industry is hands-on and, while college and university are important in providing management theory, they alone cannot deliver the practical skills that are essential to succeed.

Hospitality is not a science and, if you are willing to work hard and commit to some antisocial working hours, it can give great rewards and provide a worthwhile and well-paid career.”

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