Devised by the academy’s head chef and trainer Michael Kilkie, the inaugural two-week course kicks off in early November and is designed to equip candidates with the basic knowledge and skills required to work in a commercial kitchen.
Ten people looking for work have obtained a place on the initial programme, which covers a range of modules and courses, including the BIIAB-accredited Essentials of Catering award, as well as basic cooking skills courses covering everything from bread-making to filleting fish.
At the end of the two-week course, candidates will then have the opportunity to gain two weeks’ work experience at one of a number of Glasgow venues, including the Grand Central hotel and outlets within G1 Group’s portfolio.
Kilkie said the course aims to inspire people to pursue a career in catering, equip them with the basic skills required in a commercial kitchen and dispel some of the myths about working as a chef.
“I think a lot of people are put off by the thought of working long hours in a hot kitchen; they’re not aware of all the options,” he told SLTN.
“Don’t get me wrong, we have to be realistic. It is a hard job and you do start at the bottom peeling potatoes or chopping vegetables but there are lots of different areas of work.
“The TV chef has helped and hindered the industry in equal measure, I think. There are a lot more foodies out there and there’s a real thirst for knowledge; but, a lot of the time, it’s not a true reflection of what goes on in a kitchen.
“This course is designed to prepare them and give them a start when they go into a commercial kitchen; it covers all the things they’ll do in their first wee while in a kitchen and give them the skills for jobs they’ll realistically do at that stage.”
It’s not just the new course that Tennent’s Training Academy reckons could help encourage more people to pursue careers in the kitchen. The team regularly works with local schools in a bid to inspire young people to pursue a career in hospitality.
Kilkie also gives talks at Partick Job Centre, which has a ‘hospitality hub’, about careers in the industry; and the academy is running an open day when people from the job centre can go along to its Cook School and learn new skills.
Tennent’s Training Academy also stages regular recruitment days (the next one is set to take place on November 4) when operators can book a slot to ‘speed’ interview around 20 candidates who have completed a variety of courses at the academy.
“If you’re looking for extra staff for the festive period you can phone the academy to book in and then come along to the recruitment day and interview people,” said Gayle Johnstone, licensed trade account manager at Tennent’s Training Academy.
“The academy is a one-stop-shop when it comes to training. We run more than 60 courses and have about 200 people through the doors each week.
“If operators come to us and need something specific we can tailor courses. We try our best to accommodate everyone.”