Could you be a chef apprentice? The Assembly House is looking for its next cookery cohort

Richard Hughes teaching his apprentices some butchery skills at The Richard Hughes Cookery School, T

Richard Hughes teaching his apprentices some butchery skills at The Richard Hughes Cookery School, The Assembly House. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood - Credit: Archant

The future of the county's culinary scene is in safe hands, as the Assembly House's Richard Hughes has launched an apprenticeship initiative to foster talent in the sector.

The industry is facing major workforce challenges, and the cookery school founder, along with Norwich's Skills Edge Training are hoping to nurture talent through their new programme.

The project offers young people a year-long apprenticeship to anyone over the age of 16 with teaching on-the-job and in the classroom.

Current employers taking part in the scheme include Barnham Broom, The Dial House in Reepham, Farmyard in Norwich, JD Youngs at Harleston and The Assembly House.

Shaun Allen from Skills Edge is one of those leading the course.

He said: 'It's been well documented that the hospitality industry is facing a real crisis in terms of recruitment and retention of young staff.

'What we want to do is emphasise what a great career choice the ever-growing hospitality sector is, offering apprentices the opportunities of job choice, full employment, and a really exciting career with the opportunity to travel across the globe.'

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Skills Edge also offers front of house training, as well as apprenticeships in financial services, management, business administration, customers services and hairdressing.

Mr Hughes, who has been cooking professionally for more than 40 years, said: 'This is a real passion of mine. There is so much opportunity out there for a well-trained, qualified and ambitious chef. It doesn't matter how academic you are, or what's happened in your past, this is an industry that will welcome people with open arms, if they are willing to work hard.

'Careers in hospitality are built on enjoyment and enthusiasm and we aim to harness this. We need to understand the specific barriers to attracting and retaining workers within the sector and build a better bridge between education and the world of work to encourage more people into hospitality – I think this apprenticeship is one answer.'

Mr Hughes and Mr Allen are coming to the end of their year with their first cohort, and are now looking for another eight young hopefuls to join them on their next round of training.

If you think you could be one of those apprentices, or to register an interest, visit, email or call 03333 583559.

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