Future 50: Poultec revamps café as search for hospitality workers continues
- Credit: Poultec
Norfolk training experts see huge opportunities for young people.
While Poultec Training specialises in helping young people gain vocational qualifications and find apprenticeships, the Future 50 member has another side to its business: it also operates Café Verde, on the same site at Mattishall in Norfolk as its head office.
“With the café, it's new decor, new team, new menu," says Poultec director Leroy Burrell. “We have new chef, Julian Reynolds, who's absolutely fantastic as well as a new front of house team.” Both the inside and outside areas of the café have been revamped – and the result is "a real turnaround”.
At present, the café is open from Monday to Friday. Poultec hopes to move to weekend opening in the near future, but the issue is finding the staff. “At Poultec we teach hospitality and catering, but the whole industry is having problems with recruitment at the moment, leaving our hospitality course under-subscribed for the first time in seven years,” Mr Burrell explains.
Could Poultec’s students help by gaining work experience in the cafe? “The hospitality and catering course hasn’t started as yet, due to the lack of applicants” Mr Burrell says.
“Engineering, hairdressing and barbering, fitness and sport... most of our other courses are very busy. But hospitality and catering seems to have been knocked by COVID. Being the first industry to close and the last to reopen perhaps means young people are not seeing hospitality as their first career choice and not realise the opportunities available in the industry.
“We're really keen to play a key role in raising the profile of hospitality and bringing young people into this sector. The passion we have at Poultec is to give people the skills to be able to succeed and progress. These skills are learnt on the course, supported by work experience within our on-site café and training facilities, so they leave us work-ready. If they choose to go into hospitality, there are lots of opportunities and the skills they learn are all transferable,” says Mr Burrell.
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Poultec’s study programmes teach young people the skills currently required by industry and are as rigorous as traditional college-based courses. Poultec can also help young people find apprenticeships to continue learning in the workplace, getting more hands-on skills and earning a wage, with day-release study and tutor visits.
“Lots of businesses are wanting to recruit apprentices at the moment,” says Mr Burrell. “Apprenticeships let companies nurture their own talent. It’s a great way for a business to develop its full-time staff - and even its managers of the future.”