An international hotel chain has set up a Chef Apprenticeship Academy, which will fully fund each place and provide participants with a salary during the programme.
The Academy, which will be opened by Hilton Worldwide early next month, is to take on 20 apprentices who will undertake a combination of college-based courses and on-the-job training for 12 months.
Ben Bengougam, Hilton Worldwide’s vice president of human resources, said: “As many people consider their future options, we’re offering the chance to start on what can be an immensely rewarding career by learning from some of the best chefs in the business.”
On completing the scheme successfully, each participant will have the option of being taken on as a full-time commis chef at one of the 15 hotels participating in the initiative across the UK, he added.
They will also receive an NVQ Level 2 in Professional Cookery, with the option to move to Level 3, from Westminster Kingsway College.
The initiative builds on the hotel chain’s launch of a scheme with organisations such as Reed in Partnership to get the long-term unemployed back into work. The company also offers six month internships in association with a number of hotel schools across Europe.
The news came to light as the TUC union umbrella organisation revealed that women apprentices earned on average 21% less than their male counterparts. Part of the problem was that women were over-represented in poorly-paid jobs such as hairdressing and childcare. They also dominated those sectors such as retail and health and social care where apprentices were not paid at all.
But Scarlett Harris, unionlearn’s apprenticeships policy and campaign officer, said: “Even within the same sector, women are being paid less. For example, in the retail sector, women make up 61% of apprenticeship starts, but are paid 16% less than male retail apprenticeships. It is also the case that the wage return for a women qualified with a Level 2 apprenticeship is 4%, while for men it is 16%.”