A new partnership in Rye, East Sussex, is cooking up a storm in the hospitality and catering industry after launching 11 new apprenticeship opportunities.

Does that mean working in hospitality is becoming trendy again? We think so.

The hospitality sector is the third-largest in the UK, employing more than 3.2million people. However, in recent times there has been a dip in the number of people being employed and staying in employment in this industry sector.

Forecasts have identified as many as one million additional employees will be needed over the next two years, which means the pressure is on to develop a highly-skilled workforce.

The industry is popular with lots of people for part-time café or bar work while they're at school, college, or university. It provides them with an income to help cover the cost of studying, rent, or just leisure activities in their spare time. It teaches them lots of essential skills in the workplace such as customer service, team-work, and the ability to think on their feet.

But now many of these part-time roles are starting to turn into viable career paths, first and foremost through apprenticeships.

It wasn't too long ago that Apprenticeships had somewhat of a stigma attached to them. But in recent years they have undergone a bit of a transformation. A recent study conducted by the FMB found that over half of all parents would prefer their child to apply for an apprenticeship, rather than go to university.

There are now many more apprenticeship opportunities in a wider range of sectors. Students have more freedom to find employers that they would like to work for and rather than being allocated an employer, and businesses, who have a big enough payroll, pay into an apprenticeship levy. Those businesses can then use the levy to fund apprenticeship programmes.

Each year, National Apprenticeship Week celebrates and champions this popular educational pathway with a week's worth of activity. In August of this year, the first Hospitality Apprenticeship Week was launched to help encourage more people to take up a role in the industry.

On top of all of that, there are now even more exciting opportunities for progression once learners have completed their hospitality apprenticeship at Level 3. The introduction of degree apprenticeships will allow employees to gain the equivalent of a degree while they become an important part of the organisation.

And now these opportunities are available in Rye.

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The Rye Hospitality Guild, a collection of restaurants and hotels, has set up an apprenticeship programme in collaboration with Sussex Skills Solutions. Sussex Skills Solutions is the training and apprenticeship specialist of East Sussex College, and together the two organisations have created 11 exclusive opportunities for hospitality apprenticeships. The Level 2 programmes will be either in a chef or hospitality role and give added benefits not normally associated with standard apprenticeship roles such as 'away days' to suppliers.

Martin Blincow, Guest Relations Manager at the Mermaid Inn said:

"The Rye Hospitality Guild aims to support young people in their career decisions and help them decide if the hospitality industry offers the opportunities and work environment they are looking for.

"The framework of the Guild enables young people to develop three 'A's - Aspiration, Attitude, and Achievement. They will be given opportunities to visit a variety of suppliers, restaurants and local businesses, as well as be part of a supportive group of apprentices, all designed to help them discover a career that can take them as far as they want to go!"

There are several Apprenticeship opportunities on offer, all starting this September. Roles will be either in the Kitchen or Front of House and will be in some of the finest businesses in the area including The Gallivant, The Ship, Jeakes House, Hoof, The Bistro, The Hope and Anchor, and The Mermaid Inn.

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