NE1 Ltd is working with 3 of the city’s top restaurants and Newcastle College to avert an impending skills crisis in the restaurant industry in the North East.
Attracting and training new recruits, as well as recruiting highly skilled staff, is a growing problem and one that is likely to be exacerbated this year with the opening of another 26 new restaurants in Newcastle city centre alone.
To stimulate interest in a career as a professional chef and to provide a direct link into three of Newcastle’s finest restaurants, NE1 has teamed up with Fat Buddha, Babucho, 21 Group and Newcastle College’s Lifestyle Academy to create a chef’s fast-track training course.
Bob Senior (left), Managing Director of Hot Buddha Ltd, Stephen Patterson (right), Director of Communications at NE1 and Susan Davis (centre), Operations Manager at Newcastle College.
The Traineeship programme will initially cater for fourteen 16 – 24 years olds on an eight-week intensive on-the-job training course that, after successful completion, will provide an NVQ Level 1 qualification in Hospitality and is expected to lead directly into either a job, or an Apprenticeship for participants.
The course is being run by Newcastle College but will be mostly work based to ensure that candidates get a real taste for a career in the industry.
The Traineeship will launch on 8 February – the hope is that if successful, the course will be repeated with an expanded intake of trainees and the involvement of more restaurants.
After 8 weeks, the training will culminate with a showcase three-course dinner prepared by the newly trained chefs, with each restaurant and their respective trainees preparing a course to be served to an invited audience of VIP and celebrity guests at the Chef’s Academy restaurant at Newcastle College.
Stephen Patterson Director of Communications at NE1 Ltd explained:
“The restaurant industry has been the number one growth sector in Newcastle over the past five years, helped by NE1’s Alive after Five and Restaurant Week initiatives that have boosted visitor numbers into the city and its restaurants in the early evening. This has led to an explosion in restaurant numbers and a demand for even greater numbers of staff.
“The growth in the restaurant industry in Newcastle is great news for the city, but staffing these new venues with good quality staff can be difficult. We want to offer our help to generate interest and enthusiasm in a career in hospitality and catering and create opportunities for young people to work directly with some of the city’s leading restaurants.
Bob Senior, Owner and MD of Fat Buddha restaurant said:
“We pride ourselves on our staff and we invest heavily in attracting and retaining the best – but it is becoming increasingly difficult to attract young people into the industry. We wanted to run an on-the-job taster course that gives young people the chance to experience first hand what it is like to work in a fast-paced restaurant environment and hope that it will encourage them and others to consider a rewarding career in the industry.”
Susan Davis, Operations Manager, Newcastle College Lifestyle Academy:
“We welcome any initiative that encourages young people to consider improving their training and education credentials especially in the restaurant and hospitality industry. As an education provider we pride ourselves on helping local employers address their skills shortages by providing a pipeline of well-trained job ready individuals. We are looking forward to working with the restaurants and NE1 on the fast-track training course and we will continue to support the successful recruits with their on-going training needs when they secure jobs, or apprenticeships in the future.”
Prospective course participants are invited to attend a launch event at Fat Buddha restaurant on Tuesday 26th January at 5pm to meet the restaurant and college staff and find out more details.
Further information, including how to apply, is available from Andy Brown, Newcastle College Hospitality Section Manager
Tel: 0191 200 4645