Kew Green Hotels are cooking up a storm with their new “Chef School” apprenticeship scheme.
As a new initiative for the estate, the team at Kew Green are invested in ensuring the scheme is one that creates future leaders within the culinary industry, through collaborating with schools, academies, colleges and NEET institutions to further inspire a future generation of budding Chefs not only onto their scheme, but into the wider industry.
“The introduction of the apprenticeship levy has provided us with an opportunity to really begin to unlock the potential of young people and succession plan of create future leaders within Kew Green. We are aware that we have a bigger role to play in the education of young people and we have worked tirelessly to ensure our programme has been developed with the learner at the forefront of our programme.” Ian Byrne, Talent Development Manager.
Kew Green Hotels are an industry leading, rapidly expanding Hotel owner and operator, who offer careers across a range of international brands inclusive of IHG – Holiday Inn and Express and Crowne Plaza, Hilton, Marriott and various independent hotels. Not too dissimilar from those across the Hospitality industry, Kew Green is anticipating the worsening skills gap and see their Chef School programme, alongside companywide employer branding initiatives – including a new employee centric careers site, and a new, candidate centric application process as a means to address the shortage of talent in the industry and remain competitive in the war for talent.
What makes the Kew Green Apprenticeship unique is the clear cut and progressive career path Kew Green has developed for aspiring Chefs. As Chefs progress through the levels, learners will have the opportunity to visit abattoirs, undertake farm and coastal city visits – whilst gaining an in-depth understanding of how produce starts its journey to our plates, alongside practical, interactive classes and learning to number crunch. Commencing with an initial 12-month programme – Chef School Foundation; and offering the potential to progress onto Chef School Intermediate & Advanced tiers, Kew Green are committed to developing their apprentices to Head Chef level within 6 years.
“We believe that our programme is one of the best in the industry and hope to use to address the somewhat tarnished reputation of hospitality being a “career of last resort” amongst young people. Working with HIT, we hope to be able to proactively inspire the future generation into a career in the kitchen and subsequently onto our programme. We know a career as a Chef isn’t for everyone, and actually – we want young people very early on, that its tough. Yes, you might work 10 hours in a kitchen, several days in a row, but the possibilities and opportunities as a Chef are endless, and perfect for those who don’t want to sit behind a desk for 9 hours a day.” Natasha Nagra, Kew Green Hotels
Among these collaborative relationships are HITZ – an award-winning education and employability programme which works with over 2000 14-18-year olds across England every year, and Access First – whose aim is to increase social mobility by providing young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Kew Green have committed to inclusivity with their application process and have enlisted the use of Cognisess – a unique analytics engine as part of their recruitment.
Cognisess has enabled the use of cognitive neuroscience and data analytics to identify what an Outstanding Chef at Kew Green looks like, through the use of Gamification. This has enabled the team to remove unconscious bias in the hiring process, and instead focuses on identifying those core competencies and behaviors that make their top performers successful. Furthermore, this is done through playing a short sequence of fun, interactive games, designed to engage with their target audience.
“Obtaining this information will enable us to ensure prospective candidates demonstrate the core behaviors that make our current Chef leaders outstanding.. Furthermore, Cognisess provides real-time feedback, so that each candidate, irrespective of the outcome of their application – has a comprehensive candidate profile compiled. For these young individuals, who are often lacking in confidence – we know how frustrating and demotivating receiving no feedback could be for them, and so – whilst we know that every candidate isn’t going to be the right fit for Kew Green, we do want to help each prospective apprentice to learn more about themselves as part of their journey with us. They are investing time in us, and we want to give back.” Natasha Nagra, Talent Resourcing Manager.
The Kew Green Chef School Foundation level is currently open to applications, you can find out more about the programme by visiting www.kewgren.co.uk/recipe-for-success or by contacting Natasha Nagra at Natasha.firstname.lastname@example.org.