Friday 6 March 2015

Apprentice chefs put their new skills to the test when they served up a tasty two-course meal for Royal British Legion volunteers.

A team of eight apprentice catering staff and chefs rolled up their sleeves and donned their chef whites to prepare the scrumptious meal for more than 50 volunteers who pounded Sheffield’s streets last November selling poppies in the run up to Remembrance Sunday and the centenary of the First World War.

The apprentices decided to lay on the tasty treat to say thank you to the volunteers, many of them ex-servicemen and women from Royal British Legion branches across the city, and to showcase their skills in the run up to National Apprenticeship Week, which runs nationally from 9 March.
The event at Sheaf Training at Norwood Drive, Sheffield, was also attended by the Lord Mayor, Councillor Peter Rippon, and Councillor Jackie Drayton, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families.

Cllr Drayton said: “Apprenticeships are an excellent way of gaining qualifications and workplace experience. Young people can earn as they learn, gaining the practical skills they really need to develop the foundations they need for their career ahead. Nurturing talent and interest in business is something we feel really passionately about.

“National Apprenticeship Week takes place nationally next week and I couldn’t think of a better way of showing the real value of apprenticeships and on the job training than the enthusiastic and talented young chefs who prepared this feast.

“It was such a brilliant idea for these apprentices to host an event to thank Royal British Legion volunteers for their hard work in raising money for the charity. The food was delicious and I know the ex-servicemen and women who attended had a great time. I hope other young people will see the interesting and varied training opportunities available through our apprenticeship schemes in Sheffield and are inspired to find out more.”

The team of apprentices, who spend one day a week at the Sheaf Training Centre studying the theory behind their vocation, developed and planned their own menu for the event which included ricotta and herb crusted cod, minced beef and onion pie with buttered new potatoes and creamed savoy cabbage followed by an indulgent treacle tart with vanilla ice cream or custard.

Lidia Cantelmi, 19, is taking part in a catering and hospitality apprenticeship at the Sheaf Training Centre while also running front of house services at her family’s restaurant La Terrazza on Sharrowvale Road.

She said: “For today’s event I helped prepare the canapés and the main cod course but we’ve been working as a team to pull everything together and ensure things run smoothly. It’s been a real honour to cook for the ex-servicemen and women from the Royal British Legion today – it’s not every day you get to look after people who’ve fought for our country like this.

“This has been fantastic, hands-on training as part of our apprenticeships too and I hope it inspires other young people who see what we’ve achieved to find out more about apprenticeships too. It’s a great way of learning a trade, or different roles within a trade, and really gives you the practical experience you need to start your career. If anyone is thinking about looking into an apprenticeship I’d say ‘don’t think about it twice, because you won’t regret it!’ Maybe in 10 years time I will be here passing on what I’ve learnt to other young apprentices too.”
Bryan Green, County Vice Chairman for South and West Yorkshire and branch chairman of the Frecheville and District Royal British Legion, attended the event.

He said: “I think this event is a fantastic idea, not just because we get treated to a lovely meal, but because it’s such good experience for the apprentices of what it’s really like to work as a chef or in hospitality. It’s good for us to get together like this and provide that helping hand to the next generation of workers as they embark on their careers.”
Steve Bush, secretary of the Frecheville branch of the Royal British Legion, added: “It’s wonderful to be invited to an event like this, the food has been beautifully laid out and we’ve had a lovely warm welcome. I’ve been looking forward to the food and sharing some old war stories with the young people too.

“I think it’s a brilliant way for them to show off their skills. When we were young apprenticeships were very common so it’s great to see them becoming more favourable now and young people getting involved in learning a trade like this.”

For more information about apprenticeships and National Apprenticeship Week visit www.apprenticeships.gov.uk.

For more information about apprenticeships, traineeships and employment opportunities for young people visit http://lifelonglearningandskills.org.