Talking careers in Parliament: Apprentice showcase at the House of Commons

Our latest event proved a massive success as over 100 apprentices within the pub, bar, brewing and casual dining industry descended upon the House of Commons to showcase career and development opportunities within the industry. 64 local MP’s from up and down the country were in attendance to join in the fun as well as four Ministers, parents, trade associations and company representatives. Activities included pint pouring, dough stretching, fastest bottle top capping, and potato peeling challenges as well as a ‘Pull your Pint Face challenge’ with the MP’s on hand to have a go and hear from the young apprentices about their careers.

MP Jonothan Djanogly gets stuck in stretching dough with the Casual Dining Group apprentices

Community and Pubs Minister Andrew Percy MP, welcomed the attendees and congratulated the employers who were embracing the apprentice scheme. “Before I became an MP, I was a teacher and I saw the value of apprenticeships in my own area… Well done to you for taking on apprenticeships in this vibrant industry.” An industry, he continued, where people could take on almost any role, from an engineer in a brewery to mixologist in a bar. “This industry offers a range of brilliant jobs which contribute to the UK economy.”

The event ran during the government’s National Apprentice Week, to bring together employers and apprentices across England to celebrate the success of apprentice partnerships and encourage more people to consider an apprenticeship as a fast-track to a lasting career.

Among the brands showcasing their skills were Ignition, an ambitious micro-brewery based in Lewisham who specialise in opening the doors of employment to those with special needs and learning difficulties alongside both small and larger breweries including Marston’s, Fuller’s, Heineken, Five Points Brewing, Brewhouse & Kitchen and Wincle Beer Company. From the pub and casual dining sector Stonegate Pub Company, Mitchell’s & Butler, Beds & Bars, Casual Dining Group, TGI Friday’s and drinks company Diageo.

Ignition Brewery

Popular American restaurant TGI Friday’s brought their bartender and Guinness Word Record holder Kovacs Gyorgy to support the apprentice team and show off his flair skills, including cocktail making and the record breaking bottle flips! Dawn Cheetham, head of culture at TGI Fridays UK, said: “TGI Fridays offers an incredible apprentice scheme, helping those who would like to start a career in the hospitality industry get their foot in the door, with flexible, on-the-job training.

“We’re really proud of the team who came down to London on the day and are grateful to have the opportunity to celebrate their successes with them and their families in such an iconic location.”

Guinness World Record holder Kovacs Gyorgy

Hospitality giants Stonegate Pub Company, who currently employ over 14,000 people, are in full support of apprentices and also have the Accelerator programme in place which aims to give deputy managers the chance to progress to management.

Tim Painter, HR director at Stonegate, said: “Our apprenticeship programme is a stepping stone within our award-winning Albert’s Theory of Progression career pathway, which has seen hundreds of our employees rapidly progress their careers into pub management, operations and professional support service roles.”

Stonegate Pub Company

Whilst working the bar will always be a great casual job or stop-gap, the showcase shed some light on the career paths that are available as well as the fantastic earning potential. Keith Knowles, chairman of the Pub and Bars industry group, added: “This is an industry where it is not unusual to start in the bar on minimum wage and progress to senior management earning in excess of £100,000.

“For young people career progression in pubs and bars can be rapid, with many progressing to a management role within three years.”

With eating and drinking out being the 3rd largest employer in the UK Anthony Pender, vice-chairman of Perceptions and Director of Yummy Pubs who employs 20 apprentices in workplace schemes gave us this snippet of why an apprenticeship is a great move for young people who are in limbo with their career choices: “Where else could you begin as an apprentice and four years later be managing your own business and earning £80,000 a year?” Now that’s food for thought.

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