Foodservice & CateringPerspectivesUnited Kingdom

Championing Apprenticeships

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As the UK marks Hospitality Apprenticeships Week, Jonathan Foot, Compass Group’s Head of Apprenticeships and Early Careers, discusses the company’s Junior Chef Academy and other initiative it is engaging with to attract talent into the catering and hospitality sector.

Hospitality Apprenticeships Week is upon us and it’s the perfect chance to shout about the fantastic opportunities available to our people. We’ve had an amazing 12 months; we’ve seen our apprenticeship programme grow by an unprecedented 30 per cent.  Our apprenticeship success rates are also above the retail, hospitality and tourism national average and the national average overall.

It’s been a real pleasure to watch our level 2 and 3 culinary apprentices thrive at the culinary workshops, spending time with our ambassadors, Bryn Williams from Compass Cymru and Stevie Mclaughlin from Compass Scotland, plus Dipna Anand has also shared her insight into the culture and diversity of food with our lucky apprentices! We’ve put on more supplier visits including Ford Hall Farm, Gleneagles Secret Garden and Fresh Direct – all of which have helped our apprentices understand the importance of quality, seasonal, and local produce. 

As 2021 winners of the Retail, Hospitality & Tourism Employer category at the annual Multicultural Apprenticeship Alliance Awards, we’re looking forward to the challenge of retaining our crown at the Birmingham event on 4th November. This year, we also have two up-and-coming apprentices shortlisted for their phenomenal work in their sectors, so best of luck to Restaurant Associates’, Dylan Patel and Bally Purewal, 14forty next month. An example of our solid D&I initiatives is an Apprenticeship Diversity & Inclusion Partnership Forum which kicks off this month at Aston Villa Football Club during Black History Month. It will ensure equal accessibility and opportunity for diverse talent, including ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+ and gender equality onto apprenticeship programmes.

Our first Forward with Marcus Wareing cohort celebrated the end of their workshops with the esteemed chef, by producing a mind-blowing menu for 45 people at the luxurious 5-Star Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire. The 7-course fine-dining menu was inspired by the first year of their tailor-made apprenticeship with Marcus. It was a very proud and special day seeing how far everyone has come and their commitment, passion, knowledge, expertise, professionalism, and camaraderie shone through. With Forward cohort two on the horizon, I look forward to many more events like this.


From the crème de la crème of apprenticeships to our Junior Chef Academy, a culinary introduction programme run in schools and colleges, we’re delighted to announce that Junior Chef Academy graduate from Our Lady & St Chad Catholic Academy in Wolverhampton, Angel Jackson, has recently progressed into a Commis Chef Apprentice role at Wolverhampton Wanders Football Club. I’m thrilled to see the successes at both ends of the spectrum and we have hundreds of great stories in between which we’ll be sharing across this celebratory Hospitality Apprenticeships week.

Jonathan Foot

Jonathan Foot is the Head of Apprenticeships and Early Careers at Compass Group.


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