Chinatown is famous for its distinctive culinary offer, often prepared by specially trained chefs brought in from all over the world to work in Chinatown’s Asian restaurants.
However, in recent years, tighter controls on immigration have made it more difficult and costly to bring in staff from overseas. This has left some businesses with a skills gap which is affecting their ability to grow and expand. Wing Wah group are leading the way to bridge this skills gap, by training their own specialist chefs and hospitality staff in modern apprenticeships.
Earlier this month The Ming Moon Restaurant in Birmingham held a cooking session to show off the wide range of skills and techniques the apprentices from The De Vere Academy of Hospitality have acquired.
Dorian Chan, Vice Chair of the Ming Moon and The Wing Wah restaurants, said: “The relationship between The De Vere Academy of Hospitality and us has proved extremely successful to date. I am very much looking forward to gathering all the apprentices that have gained employment with my businesses together to see how far they have developed, and to hopefully encourage more businesses to embrace such a worthy scheme.”
Chan confirmed the apprentices had risen to the challenge and many of the apprentices had picked up some Chinese, whilst helping some staff with their English – proving that Chinese businesses can capitalise and benefit from the government funding available for apprenticeships, whilst solving their own particular skills gap with home-grown talent.
Wei Du swapped his job as restaurant manager with an apprentice for the day to help the trainee gain invaluable skills and experience in running a busy restaurant. Wei said: “I think this sort of training exercise is very important as the trainee has got some real world experience of what it is like to run a busy restaurant and so far he is doing an excellent job, there haven’t been any issues!”
De Vere Academy of Hospitality was launched in January 2010 and now comprises 12 Academy locations where apprentices – aged 16-24 – graduate in hospitality services or professional cookery as a first step towards a career in the UK hospitality industry. Over 2,000 apprentices have passed through the academies to date.
They aim to train over 10,000 apprentices over the next three years.