John Lewis Partnership launches Chef Academy to support hospitality sector
The John Lewis Partnership has become the first retailer to launch its own Chef Academy to help address the current shortage of qualified chefs in the UK.
The news follows a survey released last week by UK Hospitality, the British Institute of Innkeeping, and the British Beer and Pub Association which found that staff shortages in the hospitality sector are reaching critical levels.
The partnership will be taking on up to ten apprentices this year who will spend a year learning and working in the kitchens of the partnership’s head offices and hotels.
The partnership said more than 80% of the course will offer hands-on experience where apprentices will learn how to create everything from breakfasts to eight course fine dining dinners. They will also cater for large events, such as weddings and charity events.
Those who successfully complete their apprenticeships will receive the Professional Commis Chef Level 2 qualification. Although the course has been developed to set apprentices up for a career in the hospitality sector, they will also be able to apply for permanent roles as commis chefs or chef de parties at one of the partnership’s hotels.
Michael Abadee, an executive chef for the John Lewis Partnership, said: “The UK has always delivered some of the world’s best chefs, but that has come under threat in the last two years as the industry has come under increased pressure. The Academy is a huge opportunity for people with a shared love of great food to be inspired and develop the skills they need to become the country’s future chefs.”
UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls added: “Our figures show chefs in particular are in short supply in the UK – 76% of food-serving hospitality operators are looking for chefs to hire – and so we very much welcome this new academy. Last month we launched our new hospitality workforce strategy in order to support initiatives just like this, at a time when we are facing a staffing crisis.”