With great chefs in short supply, the hospitality sector is looking to specialist education and training courses to support staffing needs.
Compass Ireland, one of the country’s largest food services and corporate restaurant operators, has partnered with renowned chef Danni Barry on a unique career training and development programme for staff.
Working with the City of Dublin Education Training Board and Michelin-starred, Danni Barry, the company will deliver a Commis Chef Apprenticeship Programme for employees at Crumlin College Dublin.
The two-year programme involves an initial full-time induction for one month. This is followed by a training commitment of two days per week, where the chefs are released from work to complete the programme.
As an ambassador for the career development scheme, Danni Barry will present practical workshops and advisory sessions for course participants.
Danni Barry was only the second female Irish chef to hold a Michelin Star and, in 2016, was named Irish Chef of the Year. She was Head Chef at Epic Restaurant and has also worked as Executive Chef in Balloo House in Northern Ireland and as Executive Chef at The Wicklow Escape, in County Wicklow.
The new apprenticeship scheme is part of the Compass Group goal of continuous professional development for employees, and is open to any and all of the company’s 1,500 employees in Ireland, interested in qualifying as a chef.
On completion of the apprenticeship programme, participants achieve a QQ1 Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Culinary Arts, with the opportunity to progress to a Chef De Partie Apprenticeship at QQ1 Level 7.
Regional apprenticeship programmes are also scheduled to take place later in this year in Galway, Limerick, Cork and Northern Ireland.
Talent pipeline essential for sector recovery
Sourcing talent is a top challenge for the sector, Danni Barry says, and the scarcity in trained professionals and limited pipeline of talent needs to be addressed, to support hospitality recovery, she maintains.
“I’m delighted to be involved in the Compass Ireland apprenticeship programme which will help encourage people into our sector, develop talent, and also promote enhanced diversity and more female participation in culinary roles”.
The company is supporting the apprenticeship programme to enhance skills development for existing employees and to attract new talent, helping to future-proof its personnel needs. It has also developed training workshops that focus on business priorities including zero waste, locally sourced menus and low-carbon-footprint food preparation.
Health & safety, culinary skills and standards, technique and creativity, nutrition and menu development also feature on the curriculum, as well as modules on interpersonal skills, computer skills, financial management and budgets.
The apprenticeship programme is a unique opportunity to help employees progress and grow their culinary and management skills, if that is what they want to do, Deirdre O’Neill, Managing Director of Compass Ireland, said.
“We are leaders in food services, but Compass Ireland is first and foremost a people business. Without the talent, ambition and commitment of our people at all levels, we could not do what we do. So, investing in the development of great people is an obvious step for us.”
Compass Ireland Culinary Director, Shay Kendrick, says the support of Danni Barry, an immensely talented and creative award-winning chef, has been instrumental in creating a programme offering a balanced and practical skill-set.
“Here we have a chef, with huge talent, who also recognises that working in this industry is challenging, and that it requires practical personal and inter-personal skills to really succeed and enjoy the kitchen experience”, the culinary director says.
Compass Ireland has always focused on developing staff, team-working and mentoring, Shay Kendrick adds.
“We believe passionately in ‘hiring the smile and training the skill’ and committed employees know they can develop rewarding careers with us”.
The company also works with double Michelin Star chef, Kevin Thornton, on food innovation and menu development.