View our 2020 winners hall of fame.

Apprentices Hall of Fame


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    Alex Bainbridge

    Retail Supervisor at Aramark

    Category: Hospitality Team Leader/Supervisor/Management Apprentice of the Year

    My apprenticeship has made me capable of achieving anything I set my mind to.

    Why an apprenticeship?

    I was originally employed as a retail assistant with Aramark in 2015 and received a promotion to Retail Supervisor within 6 months. From the very beginning, I was eager to improve my skill set in any way possible. My supervisor recommended I take up the Level 3 Hospitality Supervisor Apprenticeship. Completing an apprenticeship was a clear choice to broaden my career opportunities. Previously I’d felt pressured by education, but my apprenticeship was completely different. I was able to progress and excel early on – within the first month my conversations with colleagues and customers received more positive outcomes as I learned to adapt my communication methods to talk to each person as an individual. Aramark provides me with a platform to motivate others and positively contribute to people’s wellbeing. My confidence, drive and passion wouldn’t be at the level it is without the learning the new skills I gained from my apprenticeship.

    Benefitting my business

    My apprenticeship empowered me to use logic and reason in every aspect of my work at Aramark. My confidence to manage finances soared by completing the maths sections of my qualification., This enabled me to take on additional responsibilities such as handling banking and providing management with statistics on sales percentages. Importantly, I’ve learnt that no two customers or colleagues are the same and everyone should be treated as the individual they are. This helped me improve my relationships, progressed my public speaking and increased the speed of conflict resolution. By utilising the skills and understandings I’ve gained through my apprenticeship, I believe I’ll be able to uphold the Aramark values and be a role model to others.

    The HIT Training difference

    My apprenticeship opened up the vital areas of being a retail supervisor. I now have the skills and confidence to positively lead a team, manage people, resolve conflict, communicate, provide quality customer service and use maths. The regular visits and teaching materials from my HIT Training Consultant were pressure-free and I felt encouraging throughout. The helpful, kind, yet encouraging nature of my Training Consultant made me feel at ease during my apprenticeship and gave me confidence which I’ve never felt before. Both doing the assignments for my training and being observed in my place of work aided my understanding of each aspect of the teaching covered. I now feel able to put forward new ideas and influence stakeholders on ways to improve our sales. Thanks to the help of my HIT Training Consultant, I’m capable of becoming a manager one day. Now I have completed my apprenticeship, I’m capable of doing anything I set my mind to.
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    Jess Lumsden

    Duty Manager at The Lambton Worm

    Category: Front of House Apprentice of the Year

    By completing my apprenticeship, I have the skills to both manage and own my own pub one day.

    Why an apprenticeship?

    I have supervised all front of house at the Lambton Worm pub and hotel since 2017, being promoted to Duty Manager in 2019. I had a real desire to learn more practical skills to further my career, however, due to the demands of my role, this needed to be at my own pace. So I jumped at the chance to start a Level 2 Hospitality Team Member Apprenticeship! The Lambton Worm runs a bar, kitchen and hotel, so I wanted to gain a better understanding of how each of these operate. My apprenticeship more than provided me with that opportunity! Through observations and role reversal exercises with my HIT Training Consultant, I was able to appreciate how customers feel while using our services. I put this straight into action and saw huge improvements in my social skills and communication, creating a friendlier and warmer atmosphere. Being a part of The Lambton Worm family has given me the opportunity to work within more than one area of hospitality. Whilst my apprenticeship gave me the specific skills and knowledge needed to excel in these areas. Now I’ve made it my mission to pass my experience onto the team members I support.

    Benefitting my business

    By completing my apprenticeship I know how to freely operate and confidently manage all aspects of our business: the bar, kitchen and hotel. As my social and communication skills improve, the number of regular customers has increased and I’ve been able to provide them with a more well-rounded service. For example, I can now provide customers with flavour profiles on our range of cask ales, as well as details on how they’re brewed, and the best methods of storage. Most importantly, I’ve applied the different styles of service I’ve learned straight into practice. During my working hours I manage and oversee anywhere between seven and eleven staff members. By completing my apprenticeship, I’m able to help and benefit these staff members more effectively.

    The HIT Training difference

    My passionate HIT Training Consultant made sure I improved my existing knowledge, and explored the role of hospitality team member in the areas where I felt I needed to improve. I expanded my skillset on areas such as customer service and communication, food hygiene, beverage service and I even developed a business plan for package deals at our hotel. Without the backing and support of my HIT Training Consultant and line manager, I wouldn't have the level of ambition and confidence I do today! My manager worked closely with my Training Consultant to perfectly balance the time I needed for learning and to progress in my role. My Training Consultant motivated and pushed me to be the best I can be within my work and fueled my passion for the industry. I ‘m not only more confident when speaking to others, but I’m listened to and trusted more by colleagues and customers. Thanks to HIT Training and their team, I have a renewed desire to have a positive influence in my local area through hospitality. I would like to have more responsibilities in the future, such as working within management, and helping the creative team in our brewery and distillery. By completing my apprenticeship, I believe that I will be able to both manage and own my own pub one day.
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    Gabriel-Razvan Petcu

    Facilities Support Co-Ordinator at RNLI

    Category: Housekeeper/Cleaner/Facilities Apprentice of the Year

    My apprenticeship means I can contribute more to what the RNLI stands for and believes in.

    Why an apprenticeship?

    I joined the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) back in 2016 in an admin role. I was eager to turn my job into a career and started the Level 3 Facilities Management Supervisor Apprenticeship on the recommendation of my line manager. I felt an apprenticeship would be a good way to improve my knowledge – but it became so much more than that. The training enabled me to progress quickly – within three months of starting my apprenticeship, I received a promotion! Working for the RNLI offers an extra layer of job satisfaction by knowing that my activities make a contribution, however indirectly, to the lifesaving charity. And not a day goes by without me applying or referring to a learning outcome from my apprenticeship.

    Benefitting my business

    I was able to put the skills and knowledge I was gaining from my apprenticeship straight into practice at the RNLI. My technical knowledge of building services increased, enabling me to take on extra responsibilities - like issuing health and safety work permits and facilities management projects. I’ve learned different techniques relating to emotional intelligence, which helps me to manage myself as well as a team. By putting the wide range of skills, knowledge and behaviours I’ve acquired from my apprenticeship into practice, I believe that I will be able to contribute more to what the RNLI stands for and believes in.

    The HIT Training difference

    The apprenticeship covered all of the important aspects of facilities management including budgets, health and safety, management and procurement. The HIT Training learning resources were easy-to-access and understand, with plenty of practical examples and online video clips that really helped to pull everything together. I was also able to simply drop my HIT Training Consultant an email for help if I ever needed it and they were extremely supportive and patient. Working in the same domain as the one in which I was learning helped to embed the information. With the added help of my HIT Training Consultant, I managed to overcome my fear of public speaking! I now confidently give presentations in front of a large audience.
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    Karl Svendsen

    Store Manager at Caffè Nero

    Category: Extra Mile Apprentice Award

    Completing my training has fuelled my ambition to take my career to the next level.

    Why an apprenticeship?

    In every job I’ve had, I’ve always looked to develop my knowledge and skills to challenge myself and hopefully progress. Caffè Nero offered me the opportunity to develop from Shift Leader to Store Manager in just 15 months with a Hospitality Supervisor Apprenticeship. This was a perfect opportunity to push myself and try something new! I eagerly applied excited about gaining a qualification and the potential opportunities it could unlock. By observing and paying attention to my own performance, I’m now better equipped to motivate and develop a team to deliver results in our fast-paced hospitality environment. Additionally, I’m able to efficiently manage stock levels and identify issues, as well as implementing methods to stop these issues happening in future. Caffè Nero were extremely supportive of my apprenticeship, giving me time on and off the bar to complete my work with HIT, have meetings with my Training Consultant and reflect on the work completed with my Area Manager. They also gave me the opportunity to be a part of their internal Store Manager Training Programme, taking part in four management workshops.

    Benefitting my business

    By taking on the role of Store Manager in one of the Liverpool stores, I was immediately able to make positive changes. My apprenticeship gave me the tools I needed to launch an investigation into the store’s discrepancies with stock staking. I then confidently delivered training to staff to prevent this issue from happening in future and within three months, the missing margin was brought back within the target percentage. I also took on the responsibility of writing rotas, ensuring there was a fair distribution of hours given to all team members. I also lead on inventory management and recruitment for my store and two others in our area. Most notably, my training has empowered me to confidently lead and coach new and existing members of staff. In my store, I’m now the designated individual for fire risk assessments, health and safety and pest control daily/monthly routines in store.

    The HIT Training difference

    My HIT Training Consultant, Karen, was incredibly knowledgeable, not only with her experience, but in delivering the apprenticeship and making the most of our time together. She was always open to my many questions and provided me with as many opportunities as possible to demonstrate the knowledge and skills I had picked up. We improved my knowledge in areas I struggled with, such as the practices of compliance with all H&S, COSHH and Food Hygiene. This resulted in a productive session, debating how to deliver KPIs whilst adhering a budget. This definitely helped me achieve the optimum results in my End Point Assessment. My apprenticeship pushed me outside my comfort zone, taking every opportunity to encourage me to go head first into situations that I felt less comfortable or capable of tackling otherwise. The training has encouraged me to take more time to reflect on my own learning and how I communicate with my team. This has culminated in more confidence to take on greater challenges and motivates me to look for opportunities I’d previously have doubted myself. Completing my training has fuelled my ambition to hopefully move into events management. In the past I’ve worked within sport events, and the skills I gained through my apprenticeship will help me to take on a role like this in the future.
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    Peter Szucs

    Chef at Lillian Faithful Homes

    Category: Chef Apprentice of the Year

    Realising my potential during my apprenticeship inspired me to continually improve as a chef.

    Why an apprenticeship?

    I’ve always wanted to do an apprenticeship, ever since I started working in kitchens. Many of my colleagues had recommended them to me, so as soon as I had the chance, I took up the Level 2 Production Chef Apprenticeship and it was absolutely amazing! One of the main attractions for me was the opportunity to learn in different ways and in my own time. I loved learning by doing such as getting involved in workshops, developing my own recipe portfolio, perfecting cooking techniques, and understanding food hygiene. My apprenticeship has made me feel very lucky. With Lillian Faithful and HIT Training working together, I was able to manage my time flexibly, do everything needed to complete my projects, and study for End Point Assessment. Learning without the pressures of school education was very refreshing. It gave me the freedom to learn and develop at my own pace!

    Benefitting my business

    The most beneficial thing I’ve gained is the confidence to lead and operate our kitchen when the Chef Manager isn’t around. I was able to use the cooking techniques I learned from my HIT Training Consultant to improve the assembly speed of dishes and the presentation - which certainly brought a smile to the resident’s faces! By working alongside the Chef Manager with the observations of my Training Consultant, we were able to make improvements to the preparation and storage of food, as well as service I provide. My overall confidence has increased by carrying out other duties, such as overseeing food deliveries, collecting feedback from people about their meals to make appropriate adjustments, and leading our Food Service Assistants at meal times. Now, as soon as I learn something new I’m eager to demonstrate how it works to my colleagues immediately. It is a wonderful feeling when I hear from residents or my colleagues that my hard work is appreciated.

    The HIT Training difference

    The time spent completing my Apprenticeship has been one of the most inspiring periods of my life. Not only was I able to find my true passion in cooking, but I’ve learnt how to continue to be inspired in my job which I believe is the most important skill to have as a chef. My inspiring HIT Training Consultant went above and beyond to support me. Her responses in particular were not only fast to come back, but effective to my learning style. I still cannot get over how supportive and wonderful my Training Consultant, Louise, was throughout my apprenticeship. I can easily say that she is the best teacher I’ve ever had in my life. I now have the foundations of knowledge and the confidence I need to further improve myself as a chef. My apprenticeship has been challenging in a good way and I feel like I’ve learnt a lot which will benefit me in my role. It’s had a positive impact on my career, pointing me in the right direction - I even received a pay rise after completing my apprenticeship. Realising my potential during my apprenticeship inspired me to continually improve as a chef. I’d potentially like to become a Food Safety Inspector in the future and find a platform to educate other chefs about how to improve the meals and meal experiences they create in schools and care homes.

Employers Hall of Fame


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    Flourishing Deltic focused on the future

    Category: Large Employer of the Year

    The Deltic Group, specialists in the UK’s late night entertainment and bar sector, is encouraging staff and potential new recruits to sign up for their hospitality training programmes.

    Staff training has been key to achieving their short- and long-term objectives of consistently delivering the highest levels of entertainment, facilities and standards.

    Employing around 2,500 staff over 53 venues across the UK, Deltic want to develop their staff through company-sponsored career learning. This opportunity is open to their management staff across all of their venues.

    Ollie Jordan, Deltic Group’s Learning and Development Manager, explained: “Our management level programme seeks to develop future business leaders. We currently have 55 learners enrolled on Hospitality Management apprenticeships.

    “We encourage managers to identify staff within their teams who are ready to take on apprenticeships, when new cohorts of employees sign-up for apprenticeships, they receive a programme outline. I make sure they know what to expect with regards to the delivery of the course and using bespoke training resources.”

    Ollie even attends workshops to ensure that everybody remains on the ball, and he is readily available for one-to-one communication with apprentices. Beyond the workshops he continues to act as mentor to learners and encourage their progress.

    He enthused: “We’re also launching a programme to provide chefs for three new businesses, who will undertake the Level 2 Production Chef apprenticeship. We are looking at other areas of potential development too, for example with sales and marketing courses.

    “I worked with another training provider previously, so I knew how our provider, HIT Training, worked and was aware of their good reputation within the hospitality sector. Their willingness to provide bespoke courses for our business needs is crucial. The training is focused and sector specific rather than a generic management qualification, and several staff have been promoted as a result of completing apprenticeships.”

    Ollie commented that from his experience there has been an overall improvement in staff retention, which he partly attributes to the availability of training.

    He stated: “One challenge facing the sector is to convince school leavers that there are long-term careers in hospitality, rather than just low-paid jobs.

    “Apprenticeships are successfully getting that message across. And I’ve seen a marked improvement as staff have progressed through their apprenticeships.

    With the number of apprentices and highly skilled employees at Deltic growing, so does their notoriety as an employer in the the late night entertainment and bar sector.

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    Sodexo staff are hungry for success

    Category: Best Community Outreach Programme

    As a highly reputable hospitality business operating on a global level, it has always been important for Sodexo to keep their foot on the gas by progressing their workforce and product.

    With development in mind, apprenticeship programmes at Sodexo are currently thriving across a range of skills including chefs, managers in facilities, customer service and operations. In addition to this staff are expanding their horizons, undertaking new courses in both mental health and infection control creating a more versatile workplace.

    The French-owned food services and facilities management company, among the world’s largest multinational corporations, has just under 1,000 of their 31,000 UK and Ireland workforce undertaking apprenticeships.

    Sodexo’s management team are actively encouraging both new and existing team members to consider an apprenticeship and on-the-job learning in order to develop lifelong career skills. These range from kitchen based skills such as food hygiene, meal preparation and presentation, through to service and operational skills such as leading a team, conflict management and customer service.

    Additionally, staff at Sodexo are encouraged to attend apprenticeship roadshows. During these sessions, the process of staff signing up for a range of qualifications is showcased and celebrated, explaining how easy it is to apply and highlighting the skills employees will gain.

    Apprenticeships are popular with Sodexo staff, with many employees taking apprenticeships in Level 3 Chef de Partie, Level 4 Hospitality Manager, Level 2 Production Chef, Level 2 Commis Chef and Level 3 Hospitality Team Leader. At Sodexo, apprentices get the opportunity to practice and be observed within the professional environment, enhancing their abilities by working alongside experienced chefs and other service staff.

    Suzy enthused: “We’ve always had NVQs and apprenticeships. But seeing improvements in the confidence and skill set of our team when returning from events such as the Sodexo Culinary Academy has been a real eye-opener for the business.

    “We can see the progression through the improved skills of staff members doing these qualifications. This in turn enriches the many services that Sodexo can offer”

    Sodexo has committed to engage 850 apprentices every year as part of their public pledge, with the aim to help employees become more efficient and skilled in a competitive workplace.

    The company’s client base is mainly public sector organisations and large corporations, covering a wide variety of sectors, including healthcare, corporate, defence and education.

    The inclusion of occupational training has proven to be invaluable for Sodexo’s workforce. The refined skills and new experiences of their employees goes a long way contributing towards their company-wide belief of ‘improving the quality of life for all’.

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    The Grand

    The Grand continues to close skill gaps

    Category: Medium Employer of the Year

    The Grand is consistently creating versatility amongst their employees in all areas of the business. Now their chefs, front of house and management staff are all thriving within apprenticeship programmes, The Grand are seeing a streamlined performance across all their departments.

    The company is a reputable hotel in the South-East of England. They provide accommodation, food and beverage service, and function rooms to their guests and clients. The business operates 24/7, and their customer base covers everything from large parties to hotel and dinner guests.

    The picturesque venue overlooking the English Channel employs around 40 members of staff. Currently, six of their team members are undertaking apprenticeships.

    The Grand has a large number of employees that have provided their services on a long term basis. It was important to the management team to keep these individuals engaged, give back to the whole team through education and become a more attractive employer in the process.

    The business has a fantastic reputation amongst customers locally and nationally. As a venue with multiple functions in hospitality, it was their goal to give this reputation consistency across all service areas.

    The Grand achieved their goals by offering training opportunities to all departments including front of house, back of house and operations. This approach empowers employees with vast knowledge, and creates a consistent, positive reputation across their accommodation, food, beverage and venue hire services.

    In addition to this, The Grand are able to give back to their many long serving employees and provide extra incentives for prospective employees.

    It’s common practice for The Grand to encourage the career progression of their staff and this starts with taking advantage of in-house training opportunities available to them. The Grand provides multiple functions across hospitality, and are able to rely on HIT Training’s large team of specialists to develop their team members in all specific areas.

    The apprenticeships running at The Grand so far include – Level 2 Commis Chef, Level 3 Senior Production Chef, Level 2 Hospitality Team Member, and more recently - Level 5 Operations Management. This provides staff with valuable insight and skills taught to them in their workplace, at their own pace, by people of experience.

    Ewa Kobylarz, the assistant manager at The Grand Folkestone, explained: “The chefs on apprenticeships in particular are seen practicing their own recipes, as well as developing our current recipes and menus. All of our apprentices are seen focusing on new ideas to achieve their desired results, and this has really helped us develop as a business”

    “Upskilling our existing staff resulted in having more capable personnel, reduced recruitment costs, improved overall productivity and developed skills relevant to our business. Employees joining the apprenticeship programmes ensured that we close skills gaps, as well as source future leaders from within. The apprentices are very supportive, and they regard their job as a career staying with us long-term which has increased our job retention”

    The management team at The Grand regularly consults with staff regarding the many opportunities for training and development. The hotel has collectively committed to give time and consideration to team members needing or wishing to complete training where possible.

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    The Pig Iron

    Training a ‘Win Win’ for The Pig Iron

    Category: Small Employer of the Year

    Apprenticeships are providing opportunities for staff at The Pig Iron to achieve qualifications that they may not have been able to complete otherwise.

    The Pig Iron is a wet-led public house that provides regular entertainment, including karaoke and quizzes. The 15 strong team includes managers, cleaners, DJs and bar staff.

    Apprenticeships play a significant role in the successful running of the business where even Operations Manager Emma Lickard is currently studying for her Level 5 Operational Management 5. The rest of the team are pursuing a range of apprenticeships, including Level 2 Beverage Service, Level 3 Hospitality Supervision and Leadership, Level 4 Hospitality Management, Level 3 Team Leader, Level 2 Hospitality Team Member specialising in Beer and Cask Ale, and Functional Skills to gain maths and English qualifications. This training supports many aspects of the team’s job roles, such as customer service, bar service, cocktail training and industry knowledge.

    Emma Lickard believes that apprentices are gaining life-long career skills: “The courses provide staff with confidence, motivation and knowledge, along with being able to develop their communication skills, plus maths and English. The training has helped close skills gaps in many ways. Those staff who have completed courses are now able to communicate better within the team, are working well with customers and have a greater understanding of the industry. All staff members who have been on programmes are now being given additional responsibilities in order to progress within their roles, and they’re rising to the challenge.”

    Emma continued: “One particular example of training being applied to improve the way we do things would be cocktail training which has provided the team with the specialist skills needed to create and serve particular cocktails and brands. This has been well received by customers, so it’s been a ‘win win’.

    “Staff retention has improved too. As the team now have the ability to advance their education and knowledge within the industry, and because not many employers provide these learning opportunities, staff tend to stay working here for longer at The Pig Iron.”

    Emma explained why she chose to offer apprenticeships at The Pig Iron:. “I had always wanted my staff to engage in academic courses whilst working as many staff didn’t have qualifications from school, and this was an opportunity to offer these to them. I saw investing in the team as a great way of investing in the business. We can now provide opportunities for staff to achieve qualifications that they may not have been able to achieve otherwise.”

    Any new staff are advised of apprenticeships and training opportunities when they begin employment. Emma said: “If they wish to find out more, I arrange a meeting with a representative from our provider who provides all the information and answers any questions regarding training. We also ask staff regularly, mostly at the monthly staff meeting, if they wish to do any further training. This approach works well, and keeps the staff motivated to improve their skills.”