A ground-breaking hospitality apprenticeship scheme designed to attract young people to the sector is set to play an even more significant role as hotels build back from the impact of Covid-19.
The Hospitality Apprenticeship North East (HANE) programme will support young people into the industry in the region as it targets recovery and future growth.
It is widely accepted that the hospitality industry has been impacted by Covid more than most; changing individual businesses beyond recognition. Young adults under 25 have also been amongst the hardest hit in the jobs market during the pandemic.
The HANE partnership between north east hoteliers and Opportunity North East, which is also supported by Skills Development Scotland, provides a clear pathway in and opportunities for progression for those considering a career in hospitality. HANE offers paid apprenticeships to a new generation of young talent, giving them a defined career development route and preparing them for leadership roles in the industry.
Attracting school leavers, in particular, to consider hospitality as a career rather than a stepping-stone has always been a challenge, explains HANE chairman and general manager of The Chester Hotel, Stephen Gow – himself the product of a hospitality apprenticeship.
“Hospitality is facing a staffing and skills crisis following Brexit and the pandemic. It is estimated that pre-Brexit more than 30% of hospitality workers came from Europe. So, it’s vital that we develop a new generation of young talent for the future of the sector. A 2019 poll of hospitality sector leaders showed that more than 90% believed the government needs to be doing more to promote apprentices. Hoteliers and apprentices in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire are fortunate that we have the transformational vision and financial support of Opportunity North East to be able to deliver the HANE programme and ultimately to retain the best talent in the region.
“One outcome of Covid for hospitality is that hotels and restaurants will become leaner, more efficient operations, which depend on new skills and technologies to build back and grow. As local hoteliers, the HANE initiative gives us a vehicle to inspire and nurture young people into our industry.”
Jennifer Craw, chief executive of Opportunity North East, said: “Hospitality is at the forefront of efforts to rebuild the region’s visitor economy. HANE was originally conceived to attract young talent to the sector and provide a clear career path into this dynamic industry. The apprenticeships now have added significance in the context of economic recovery and jobs for the future. They provide opportunities for young people to gain an unrivalled grounding in hospitality that prepares them for growth and progression within some of the region’s leading hotels. The apprentices – future industry leaders – will be playing a frontline role in recovery and preparing for future growth.”
The hotels involved in the apprenticeship, which include Meldrum House, Jurys Aberdeen, Douneside and Maryculter House, have all committed to pay the national minimum wage for all successful applicants and the 2021 intake is open for anyone under 25 (with certain eligibility criteria).
The course is structed to give apprentices a varied experience across all departments in a hotel with modules spent in the kitchen, in housekeeping, on reception and with the food and beverage team. There is also core course content delivered through online learning and masterclasses.
The original 2019 intake of apprentices reaches the end of their 18 month apprenticeship this year and achieve their SVQ Level 5. Hannah Kerridge, apprentice at Jurys Aberdeen is positive that the level of hands-on experience the apprentices have had is hugely beneficial. Hannah explains why she selected this route into her career.
“The apprenticeship was going to offer me a qualification and far more experience in different departments which would put me in good stead to go further in my career. And, it’s a paid apprenticeship. If someone had raised this with me when I left school I would have taken it up and gone straight into getting lots of hands on experience. If I’d gone into it straight from school, I maybe would be a supervisor or duty manager by now rather than in a couple of years’ time. That’s what I am aiming for just now.
“I think it sets you apart from anyone at college because of that level of hands-on experience. I am learning so much more through the department rotations that I would have done staying in one job role. As an apprentice you are not stifled by what you can learn. At college there’s a set process to what you can learn, but on an apprenticeship you are thrown in at the deep end and you don’t just have to learn how to lay a table and how to operate a till – you can learn stock control; you can learn ordering; anything that those around you are willing to teach you.”
Applications for the September 2021 intake of HANE apprentices are now open via www.hospitalityapprentice.com where details of the programme can also be found.
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