UK's largest nursery chain launches apprenticeship in catering for school leavers

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A catering apprenticeship for young people working in nurseries has been launched by the UK's largest chain, Busy Bees.

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Topics for Busy Bees catering apprentices include planning meals to meet the dietary requirements of young children

The company is recruiting through June, July and August to fill 105 places for its Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship in Catering and Professional Chefs.

The 14-month course, targeted at 16-year-old school leavers, has been tailored specifically to meet the dietary requirements of young children, and includes topics such as planning meals to help a weaning child and contributing to the healthy development of children.

It is designed for people who want to work as a school or nursery cook or a kitchen assistant, and contains two NVQ Level 2 courses within it: the Diploma in Food Production and Cooking and the Certificate in Hospitality and Catering Principles.

Created by the company's education and training arm, the apprenticeship will be assessed by three members of existing nursery staff with catering experience. Assessors will visit the apprentices each month at work in one of Busy Bees' nursery kitchens, alongside the in-house chef who will provide a training and mentorship role.

The majority of the apprenticeship will be assessed through practical work, but there are also online tutoring, short courses and training sessions available at Busy Bees' training centres, while apprentices must also compile a portfolio and set aside around five hours per week for study.

The company is advertising the places using the Government's apprenticeship vacancy matching website. Those wishing to apply will need a GCSE grade D or above in English and maths.

The nursery group has also recently devised a six-month Practical Master Class for its chefs and catering staff, which focuses on creating nutritious meals and sharing knowledge with parents. Busy Bees has been running a Nutrition in Early Years course for its catering staff for about three years.

Fay Gibbin, training manager for the company, said, 'The apprenticeship follows our ethos, in that we believe in growing our own talent ourselves.' She added that the company plans to launch its Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship next autumn.