West Nottinghamshire College has underlined its commitment to preparing students for employment by recruiting ten apprentices in its lifestyle academy.
The trainees, who are directly employed by the college, are helping run its new fine dining restaurant, Refined, which is open to the public, and recently-revamped staff eatery, Relish.
It sees them catering for up to 400 diners each week at the popular venues, based at the college’s Derby Road campus in Mansfield.
Four of the apprentices are studying the NVQ Level 3 Hospitality and Leadership programme to gain staff supervision skills and experience in managing front-of-house operations.
The remaining six are studying the NVQ Level 3 Advanced Professional Cookery programme, which is honing their catering skills in the restaurants’ state-of-the-art kitchens and preparing them for careers in fine dining.
The new recruits, who all completed their studies at the college last year, had to undergo a formal application and interview process for the one-year positions, aimed at preparing them for a competitive jobs market.
Head of the lifestyle academy, Amanda Jogela, said: “We place much emphasis on equipping students with the right skills and characteristics for the world of work and our new commercial ventures provide the ideal platform to enable us to support this.
“It’s great to see our new recruits working to such a professional standard in the kitchens and on the restaurant floors, and I have every confidence they will not only thrive on their apprenticeships here at college but go on to successful future careers.”
Advanced professional cookery apprentice Ian Heslop, 29, from Meden Vale, said: “We had to apply to get onto the apprenticeship programme and have a formal interview, just like with any job.
“I’m loving the role and there’s so much variety with the food I’m cooking, especially on our themed dining nights, so I’m getting a great insight into the industry. I’m also enjoying the opportunity to supervise Level 1 and 2 students and helping them develop their skills and knowledge.”
This initiative builds on the college’s existing apprenticeship scheme. Each year it employs six business administration apprentices, who spend time working in various departments to develop the skills to become qualified business administrators. Meanwhile, its subsidiary companies Vision Apprentices and Vision Workforce Skills together directly employ 70 apprentices who are placed with ‘host’ employers across a variety of industries.
In addition to employing its own apprentices, the college and its subsidiary companies train more than 11,000 apprentices on behalf of businesses across the UK, either in the workplace or on day-release at one of its campuses.