As part of National Apprenticeship Week 2019, nine of Fuller’s apprentices attended the Hospitality Apprenticeship Showcase at The House of Commons on Thursday 6 March.
The event was attended by apprentices and training teams from some of the most famous name in the British hospitality industry, including Nando’s and Pizza Express – plus eight of Fuller’s chef apprentices and our first and only brewing apprentice.
The Fuller’s apprentices that attended were:
Darragh Ryan - Commis Chef Apprentice, The Wykeham Arms in Winchester
Jamie Seabreeze-Richards - Commis Chef Apprentice, The Old Customs House in Portsmouth
Jamie Steeves - Commis Chef Apprentice, The Old Customs House in Portsmouth
Abigail Butterfield - Commis Chef Apprentice, The Red Lion in Chalton
George Huxtable – Commis Chef Apprentice, The Still & West in Portsmouth
Jake Wheeler - Commis Chef Apprentice, The Crystal Palace in Bath
Shey Soetan – Commis Chef Apprentice, Fuller’s Kitchen in Chiswick
Andy Kateta - Commis Chef Apprentice, The Vintry [pictured above]
Thomas Cox – Brewing Apprentice, Griffin Brewery in Chiswick
Each attendee’s local MP was also invited to the event. MPs such as Ruth Cadbury – local MP to Fuller’s Chiswick-based brewery – attended and Jacob Rees-Mogg took time out of his busy schedule to meet Jake Wheeler, who lives in Rees-Mogg’s constituency.
Fuller’s apprenticeship scheme started in 2016, with just 16 successful applicants. Now, there are 88 apprentices within the business – a majority are partaking in two chef programmes: Commis Chef and Chef de Partie.
We introduced a brewing apprentice programme for the first time in 2018, plus two engineer apprentices and we also have one office-based team member on their second apprenticeship programme through Fuller’s.
George Huxtable, Commis Chef at The Still & West in Portsmouth, explained that he had been at sixth form studying for his A-levels, but he knew it wasn’t for him – so he started to look for something different, something a bit less dependent on learning in a classroom.
“I was completely new to the whole thing” he explained, “I’d never worked in a kitchen before.”
The appeal of learning while working is what attracted George. Now he spends one day a week in the classroom and four days working in the kitchen at The Still & West. “The day at college is even split – part practical, part theory – so it’s not too much time in the classroom”. George has been on the course for about 11 months and says he’s keen to take on the next level – the Chef de Partie apprenticeship.
Some of our apprentices brought family members along to the showcase. Shey, Commis Chef Apprentice at Fuller’s Kitchen, brought his mother – Bolanle Soetan – along to the House of Commons.
Fuller's Chefs' Guild Apprentice Shey Soetan receives his certificate of recognition.
A visibly proud mum, she explained that Shey is always cooking and she regularly gets treated to some of his fantastic dishes at home. She’s delighted that her son is following his dreams and, having tried a couple of other companies, they’re both very happy with Fuller’s and all that it offers.
For the first time, Fuller’s has extended its apprenticeship programme to brewing and Tom Cox joined as our Brewing Apprentice in 2018. Tom said he’s been keen to get in to brewing for a while and was regularly checking websites such as the London Brewers’ Alliance for jobs – which is where he found the Fuller’s apprenticeship.
Having worked at The Cock & Bull in Sutton for a while, Tom was familiar with Fuller’s beers and had learnt more about English styles and cask beer in general. Tom explained that he thinks this time of getting to know Fuller’s and its beer helped when being interviewed by Head Brewer, Georgina Young.
Tom’s college is slightly further away – and a couple of times a month he makes the journey up to Nottingham to go to college. The course is two years, with each module about a different aspect of brewing.
Tom said he enjoys the apprenticeship because he is constantly learning. He can always ask questions, both at work and at college, so he understands not just the basics how things are done, but why.
Here is a video of the day:
Start a career at Fuller’s
Fuller’s offers industry-leading learning and development programmes for Fuller’s staff members. To find out more, visit Fuller’s Jobs.
If you are interested in learning more about the apprenticeship programmes available at Fuller’s, or would like to apply, view our apprenticeships.
Read stories about of other Fuller’s chef apprentice: