One of North Somerset’s biggest employers believes more businesses should take on apprentices.
With more young people finding it harder to get work many are turning to apprentice schemes to not only gain qualifications but also work experience in their chosen field.
With links to a number of colleges across the area, the management team at DoubleTree by Hilton, Cadbury House in Congresbury has taken on apprentices for many years and is now urging others to follow its lead.
With 11 apprentices currently on the books of the four-star venue, many others have gained full-time employment upon completion of their studies.
Colin Badcock, general manager said: “We employ apprentices in all areas of the business from the restaurant and the hotel to the health club and the spa.
“Apprentices bring fresh energy and skills to our organisation and it has been great to work closely with places like Weston College.
“We find the apprenticeship scheme works fantastically well for us. Not only does it give young people the chance to get out there and gain invaluable experience within a business like ours, but we have met some amazing talent over the years and ended up making them a permanent part of the team.”
One new member of staff who has just secured full-time employment at the venue is Carl Redwood.
He said: “The apprenticeship scheme I took part in at DoubleTree by Hilton, Cadbury House has been great. I learnt loads, built my confidence and gained brilliant experience in a top hotel. I did the apprenticeship for about a year and now I have a full-time job on reception and I love it. I’m grateful for the opportunity and would encourage others to take part too!”
Another Cadbury House triumph Neil Wrigley, who began as an apprentice in the kitchen nine years ago and is now Executive Head Chef in the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar and Grill.
In the health club, manager Jason Eaton also has a number of apprentices on his books including Dave Jackson (20) from Weston who is studying for his Gym NVQ Level II, Ella Williams (18) from Weston who is studying for her Spa Therapy NVQ Level III, Steve Kingdon (19) from Nailsea who is looking to complete his Personal Training NVQ Level III, Grace Goodbrand (16) who is studying catering and hospitality and Danny Gazzard (20) who is studying for his gym instructor level II.
Ella said: “I was always interested in well-being techniques and the holistic approach to spa therapy and started a course at Weston College. When the opportunity to gain experience at Cadbury House came up I jumped at the chance. I’ve learnt so much more than I would have by being just in the class room. I’m actually part of the business here so have to perform - if I don’t customers won’t come back and that makes it real.”
For those who are not part of a college scheme can use sites such as the http://www.apprenticeships.org.uk/ website and is exactly what Dave Jackson did.
Having spotted an advert on the website Dave arranged to meet club manager Jason and having impressed with his enthusiasm started in early January.
Dave added: “I’m the first to admit I wasn’t that interested in college so an apprenticeship is perfect for me.
“To be able to work at an award-winning health club and gain qualifications is a dream come true and I’d highly recommend this route for anyone who is interested.”
Issued on behalf of DoubleTree by Hilton, Cadbury House by Empica Ltd.