Academy Launched To Train Budding Chefs

Derby College has expanded its innovative Employer Academy programme to address the growing demand for skilled chefs.

The College has teamed up with The Finesse Collection to launch the Professional Cookery Academy this September.

Young people will work towards their level two food preparation course based at the College’s training kitchens and Engine Shed restaurant at the Roundhouse in Pride Park with specialist master classes, projects and workplace visits.

They will then do at least one day a week work placements and opportunities for paid part time work with The Finesse Collection – working in the kitchens at Cathedral Quarter Hotel in Derby, Donington Manor Hotel in Castle Donington and at the host of events handled by the company’s outdoor catering division – Finesse Hospitality.

At the end of their one-year course, students will be guaranteed an interview with The Finesse Collection for an apprenticeship with the company or supported into positions with other employers locally and further afield.

Applications are now being taken for The Finesse Collection Professional Cookery Academy and an information evening will be held for prospective students at Cathedral Quarter Hotel, St Mary’s Gate, Derby, on Wednesday July 29 between 11am and 1pm.

The Finesse Collection Professional Cookery Academy joins the Hodgkinson Bricklaying Academy, Cricket Derbyshire Sports and Hospitality Academies and the epm:technology Advanced Composites Academy – with students in all those areas gaining work experience and interviews for potential future apprenticeship and job opportunities.

The Finesse Collection Managing Director James Blick explained why the company was keen to work with Derby College on training their future workforce.

“We have already worked with Derby College to recruit and train apprentices and this Professional Cookery Academy is the next step in our bid to support young people into the workplace and to ensure our business grows organically.

“The Academy gives young people the best of both worlds. They will be working towards their qualifications at College and will then train alongside our team of chefs to see what life is really like in a working kitchen.

“Everyone will be given the opportunity to apply for an apprenticeship at the end of the programme. Regardless of the outcome, I am sure that every single one of these students will find it much easier to get a job or apprenticeship at another establishment with work-based practical and social skills under their belt.

“I was particularly delighted to see the current Derby College chefs and front of house students in action at the dinner at the Engine Shed which was attended by Gordon Ramsay on the eve of the Jenson Button Trust Triathlon.

“Gordon Ramsay was a guest at Cathedral Quarter Hotel over the weekend and it was a fantastic chance for the young people to prepare and serve dinner to him and the other guests at the event.”

“It just showed the calibre of young people who attend Derby College and I look forward to our staff playing a part in future young people’s learning journey in the coming years.”

Derby College Business Development Director April Hayhurst added: “We were keen to work with The Finesse Collection to ensure that the training providing for young chefs are just what the catering and hospitality industry needs.

“Research shows that, as the economy recovers, this industry will require more than half a million more staff by 2020. Even now, employers report that demand for chefs is far outstripping supply so we need to tackle the current and future skills shortages to meet the industry’s needs.

“We have had an incredible response to the Employer Academy programme both from businesses and young people applying for courses.

“Employers recognise that the Academies give them the opportunity to directly influence how we train young people and provides them with a direct line into their potential future workforce.

“Young people and their parents appreciate that this will give them the opportunity for an apprenticeship at the end of their course or the edge when they come to applying for future positions which is so important in a competitive jobs market.”

For more information about the Academy programme, visit or call 0800 028 0289.


Media enquiries:

Sarah Jenkin-Jones, Derby College, Tel: 07951 945665;

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