Hannah Kerridge, a 2019 HANE apprentice

Hannah Kerridge, a 2019 HANE apprentice

A North-east apprenticeship scheme, the Hospitality Apprenticeship North East www.hospitalityapprentice.com, will go ahead for 2020 despite coronavirus having a devastating impact on the hospitality sector.

A recent survey of 300 apprenticeship providers reported that, of 13,732 apprenticeships which were due to start in April only 2,693 actually started - 80% down on expectations*. Those behind the North-east apprenticeship programme hope that, despite being unable to promote the scheme through schools this year, young adults will be encouraged to apply.

The recovery of the hospitality sector will be vital for Scotland as the country plans for economic recovery. The scheme will give ambitious young adults an unrivalled grounding in the industry with some of the region's leading hotels.

The Hospitality Apprentice North East (HANE) - is now open to applications for the September 2020 intake of young adults who want to take their first steps in the world of hospitality. The programme, which saw its first intake of apprentices in September 2019, aims to find the next generation of industry professionals. The 18-month, paid apprenticeship leads to SVQ level 5 on completion and apprentices are paid at the national minimum wage for their age rather than at the lower national apprenticeship rate.

The scheme was created by the industry to provide a structured entry and career path for future leaders. It is funded by Opportunity North East (ONE), Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and the participating hotels, and is delivered by Training Matters.

Participating hotels include Meldrum House, Jurys Inn Aberdeen Airport, The Chester Hotel, Maryculter House, The Fife Arms, The Marcliffe Hotel and Spa and Douneside.

Douneside House is the ancestral home of the MacRobert family and The MacRobert Trust is also supporting the 2020 apprenticeship with a £5,000 donation. The Trust is committed to assistance to young people to help them achieve their potential.

"The hospitality industry will always be in need of enthusiastic, vibrant, young entrants," says HANE chairman Stephen Gow, who is also general manager of The Chester Hotel in Aberdeen. "The hoteliers involved in the programme are all keen to demonstrate their commitment to providing a route into our sector for young people. It's important for us all in the north east to demonstrate that the first rung of the hospitality career ladder is definitely not broken due to Coronavirus this year."

Jennifer Craw, chief executive of Opportunity North East, said: "Hospitality is an essential element of our visitor economy in north east Scotland. We must look ahead and invest in its recovery. This scheme, backed by ONE, Skills Development Scotland and some of the region's leading hotels provides a structured entry into this dynamic sector for young people. It enables them to develop their careers within the industry and grow to become future business leaders."

The bespoke 18-month programme gives participants experience in four areas of hotel operation - housekeeping, reception, food and beverage and kitchen. Apprentices have the opportunity to take part in masterclasses and learning journeys as well as the option to continue beyond the 18 months' apprentice scheme with an additional six-month project within their hotel.

The 2019 intake of apprentices visited The Fife Arms in Braemar for wine education with a top London sommelier, toured a whisky distillery, underwent barista training, had a show round of commercial laundry and had the chance to meet celebrity chef Glynn Purnell who himself started as an apprentice.

Hannah Kerridge, one of the 2019 intake of HANE apprentices, joined the scheme after leaving university and working in a hotel and recommends the scheme to any school leavers or young adults who want a hands-on learning experience.

"I knew that it was hotels I wanted to work in, and it was hospitality I wanted a career in. The apprenticeship offers me a qualification and far more experience in different departments which would put me in good stead to go further in my career. And it's a paid apprenticeship.

"If someone had raised this with me when I left school I would have taken it up and gone straight into getting lots of hands on experience. If I'd gone into it straight from school, I maybe would be a supervisor or duty manager by now rather than in a couple of years' time.

"That's what I am aiming for just now. You do get placements at college but with the apprenticeship you are paid the entire time and get a whole range of experience every day- which is a massive selling point for taking an apprenticeship route."

Applications for the 2020 intake of students - which will start work in September - are now open via www.hospitalityapprentice.com.