On Monday 31st January 2012, ATBUK committee members and representatives of various Thai companies in the UK, gathered at the Royal Thai Embassy for a seminar on a new initiative from the Hospitality Guild to provide Asian and Oriental Cuisine training to British residents through a brand new apprenticeship scheme.
With funding from the government People 1st, a training and skills specialist for the hospitality industry, has lead the establishment of a fully comprehensive programme designed to prepare students for employment in commercial kitchens through a mix of formal training and work experience.
The Hospitality Guild encompasses several hospitality training bodies consisting of People 1st, the National Skills Academy for Hospitality, BII, the Institute of Hospitality, Springboard UK, AICR, the Academy of Culinary Arts, the Academy of Food and Wine Service, the Professional Association of Catering Educators and the Worshipful Company of Innholders. Their aim is to train up to fifty apprentices for entry into work in the Asian and Oriental Cuisine sector in the first year of the programme which is being run in partnership with “Centres of Excellence”; Westminster Kingsway College, University of West London, Leeds City College, University College, Birmingham and Trafford College, Manchester.
The aim of the seminar was to explain the process behind the apprenticeship to those in attendance and to stimulate interest amongst Thai restaurant owners who may be willing to take on trainees for part-time employment at their own establishments. Having had a positive experience of working with apprentices, Khun Saipin Lee of ATBUK and Patara Restaurants has been liaising with the Hospitality Guild along with representatives from other areas of Asian and Oriental Cuisine to assist them in creating a beneficial apprenticeship scheme for both the student and potential employers.
Khun Savaporn Issaravit of Thai Upon Thames and ATBUK noted that her restaurants had indeed taken on apprentices through other channels and that the experience had been a very positive one for both the non-Thai student and the existing team within her kitchen.
Several attendees expressed an interest in getting involved with the new apprenticeship scheme with some already showing a desire to assist in extending the scope of the programme beyond the reach of the current pilot run.
Training those who are currently resident in the country, British or otherwise, to become qualified Thai chefs is seen as way to circumvent future problems which may arise from a change to immigration law which makes it increasingly challenging for restaurants to employ skilled staff from abroad.
Full more details please download the PowerPoint file used by Annette Allmark of the Hospitality Guild during the seminar.