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New 'Manx Culinary Apprentice Scheme' Launched

Together with local hospitality owners, the Visit Isle of Man Executive Agency and University College Isle of Man (UCM) have launched a new ‘Manx Culinary Apprentice Scheme’.

Together with local hospitality owners, the Visit Isle of Man Executive Agency and University College Isle of Man (UCM) have launched a new ‘Manx Culinary Apprentice Scheme’, with an aim to develop new Chefs to service the Island’s prospering hospitality sector.

The Isle of Man has a present need to fill a number of vacant catering positions and efficiently bridge the skills gap for the future. Mark Wilson, Managing Director of Sleepwell Hotels and Board Member of Visit Isle of Man, created a working group to explore this challenge and the new apprentice scheme was developed as a result.

Starting in September this year, the scheme is primarily based around workplace employment with apprentices completing a 12 month programme that incorporates 1 day a week at UCM and 4 days in the working kitchen of the employer.

The scheme is open to all residents over the age of 16 years and while previous kitchen experience would be advantageous, there are no specific entry requirements. Employers are encouraged to pay apprentices a minimum wage of £12,000 per annum and provide an annual leave entitlement. Upon completion, successful apprentices will be awarded a NVQ Level 2 ‘City and Guilds’ Diploma in Professional Cookery and will have qualified to work full time within the local hospitality and catering industry.

Mark Wilson commented:

‘I am delighted that UCM and local hospitality businesses can now offer this exciting apprentice scheme to aspiring local Chefs. We hope that the scheme will encourage those who have a passion for cooking and a desire to work in a progressive and exciting industry, where there are boundless opportunities to develop new skills, to take a step forward and apply.

‘We’re already extremely pleased with the uptake of local businesses who have committed to take part and I would encourage others within the sector who wish to join the scheme to contact me to discuss the opportunities and merits of the scheme, as well as criteria for qualifying as an employer for the scheme.’

Jo Pretty, Principal at UCM, said:

‘Historically UCM has offered full time 2 to 3 year courses within our ‘Hospitality and Catering’ department and while this will of course continue, discussions with industry have made it clear that a fast track apprentice model would be advantageous to both employers and employees alike.

‘This new scheme enables apprentices to gain valuable experience in a busy kitchen environment whilst learning the theory to complement it. By providing a fast-tracked course with a strong focus on hands-on development and the opportunity to gain greater insight into the industry, we hope we have created an attractive proposition of work-based training, studying and earning a wage.’

Ranald Caldwell, Non-Executive Chair of Visit Isle of Man, commented:

‘This refreshing approach not only opens up new opportunities to aspiring local chefs but also supports the Isle of Man’s increasing need for culinary talent to service the developing industry for both our residents and locals. It’s wonderful to see the Agency fulfilling its potential and generating positive outcomes for the industry and I commend Mark and the working group for the work undertaken to get to this point.’

The Department of Education, Sport & Culture will also be supporting the scheme by contributing towards salary commitments by providing an element of funding, subject to criteria, to employers who take part.

The deadline to apply for the first intake of the new scheme is Sunday 1 September 2019 with a starting date of Monday 9 September 2019. A second intake will follow in February 2020.

For more information and/or to apply, applicants and businesses should email Chris Franklin, Deputy Manager of Hospitality and Catering at UCM, at or call 648344.

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