View our 2021 winners hall of fame.

Apprentices Hall of Fame


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    Johnny Daws

    Supervisor and Cellar Manager at The Gloucester Old Spot

    Category: Hospitality Apprentice of the Year - Sponsored by GetMyFirstJob

    Doing my apprenticeship with HIT Training alongside my job has helped me to take more pride in my work.

    Why an apprenticeship?

    My personal mission in life is to make a positive and lasting impact while excelling in everything I do. By working in hospitality, I have the opportunity to do this daily by providing great customer service and improving my technical skills. I’ve worked in hospitality and been part of the team at The Gloucester Old Spot for my entire career so far.

    Eager to take the next step in my career, I wanted to learn new skills to give our customers a great experience, help our team members and become a leader. With my manager firmly behind me and my goals, we worked together to find suitable and practical training solutions. After a short time searching, I started my Level 3 Hospitality Supervisor apprenticeship with HIT Training, aiming to start an exciting new journey and take on new responsibilities.

    My HIT Training Consultant, Richard, immediately help me to improve my skillset and become an asset to my business. After a short amount of time on my apprenticeship, I was able to take on the responsibilities of health and safety representative and cellar manager.

    Benefitting my business

    In the pursuit of gaining more responsibility and making life easier for our team, I took charge of the day-to-day operations of our cellar. Through the learning in my apprenticeship, I was able to consistently rotate our beers, keep a detailed cellar tracker, including how to keep our stock up-to-date, and maintain a high standard of cleanliness.

    In addition, I’ve led a project with my team where we created a range of new and exciting drinks in our business. This included new profiles for our gin products, which improved both the quality of our product range and the number of choices for our customers.

    Working in hospitality while undertaking an apprenticeship during a global pandemic highlighted the importance of implementing robust health and safety measures. In addition to normal health and safety measures, I created a COVID-19 risk assessment that could be adapted as the pandemic progressed. This decreased the risk of the pandemic affecting our business and helped keep both my colleagues and customers safe.

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    Daniel Rox Palomeque

    Chef de Partie at Hotel Intercontinental O2

    Category: Chef Apprentice of the Year - Sponsored by Koppert Cress

    With the support of HIT Training, I feel empowered in my role as I work towards my long-term goal of becoming an established leader in the culinary sector.

    Why an apprenticeship?

    I started out as a Commis Chef at the Intercontinental London - The O2 in 2018, where I worked hard to provide a first-class culinary experience for our guests while acting as a team leader in the hotel. Having completed my Level 2 Commis Chef apprenticeship with hospitality training provider, HIT Training, I was excited to take the next step and do another apprenticeship!

    I saw the Level 3 Chef de Partie apprenticeship as a great opportunity to further my career and get a step closer to my long-term goal. I was inspired to pursue a leadership role within the culinary field by my father, who is currently the Executive Chef at the Intercontinental London - The O2.

    By progressing to a Level 3 qualification, I’m able to develop my technical skills as a chef, while taking on the challenges that come with a leadership role in the hospitality industry. My HIT Training Consultant, Krisztian, guided me through what it takes to excel in the role by paying attention to detail and achieving the highest food safety standards possible.

    Benefitting my business

    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our hotel was designated as a quarantine hotel for travellers, which allowed us to continue to provide a limited service and keep us working. While cooking during a global pandemic, it was imperative for us to adhere to the highest standards of food safety. By utilising the learning in my apprenticeship, I was able to implement safe working practices and serve up to 800 guests on a daily basis during the height of the pandemic.

    Working through several periods of lockdown often created barriers for our team to create great food and provide a memorable service. During a period of closure, I outsourced our services by providing shelter and food to Afghan refugees, who were evacuated after the army left Afghanistan.

    We were able to provide consistent and successful food service for the large group of refugees throughout September. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my career, as I had the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those who needed it most.

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    Michael Mercer

    Catering Manager at Sodexo

    Category: Leadership Apprentice of the Year - Sponsored by Institute Of Hospitality

    Putting my ideas directly into practice allowed me to critique my own performance and put me on the path to becoming a great leader.

    Why an apprenticeship?

    Working as a Chef allows me to be creative while learning valuable life skills along the way in an exciting environment. Ever since I began a career in catering, I’ve wanted to learn and progress in order to establish myself as a leader.

    My leadership journey started with Sodexo in 2019, where I was promoted from Head Chef to Catering Manager at Bulford Army Camp. After six years of working in various chef roles, this was the perfect opportunity to make a positive difference to people’s lives and work towards my career aspirations.

    Managing a large team was all the motivation I needed to enrich my skills as much as possible, as I wanted to be in a position where I can fully support the lives and careers of my team. To help develop these skills I enrolled on the Level 3 Facilities Management Supervisor apprenticeship with HIT Training in February 2021.

    Benefitting my business

    As well as the development of leadership skills, it was important for me to improve my understanding of the commercial and financial aspects of my business. With guidance from my HIT Training consultant, Tomas, I learnt how to effectively control at budget. This enabled me to bring our food percentage margin from 10% up to 16%, which established us as a financially healthy business.

    As a leader, it’s my responsibility to motivate our chefs to consistently improve their skills and our food standards as a business. To gain engagement from my team, I regularly organise in-house culinary competitions where staff compete to achieve, maintain and even exceed standards. These activities have proven to be a great success with supporting and developing the skills of our chefs. In addition, we’re able to demonstrate how we evolve and innovate our dishes, as well as surpass our client’s expectations.

    As part of my training, I work hard to maintain and improve our working relationship with the Military Core Catering Manpower. In addition to meeting more regularly, I’ve also delivered training sessions to many military teams, helping to support their development and improve their catering.

    By delivering training in my work and undertaking my own training, I understand the value of good man management. With this in mind, I’ve encouraged our chefs to have a rotation schedule throughout the many locations within our business. This has helped our chefs to bolster their skills, flexibility and add variety to their weekly schedules.

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    Mason Carman

    Trainee Production Chef at Crate and Apple

    Category: Extra Mile Apprentice of the Year - Sponsored by Professional Assessment Limited

    My apprenticeship has given me education, a substantial boost to my mental health and allowed me to be creative every day.

    Why an apprenticeship?

    Having a difficult upbringing and a lack of formal education, I found myself in search of belonging and purpose in my life. Becoming a chef and starting my Level 2 Production Chef Apprenticeship with HIT Training has been essential in finding that purpose, while helping me to practice what I’m passionate about!

    I started my career as a Trainee Production Chef for Crate and Apple, where I learnt tricks of the trade and worked closely with their talented team of Chefs. My HIT Training Consultant, Alison, helped me to flourish in the kitchen and embrace every challenge within my learning journey. So far, my confidence has improved so much more than I expected and I feel so proud of the work I’ve done to help take Crate and Apple’s dishes to the next level.

    Benefitting my business

    My favourite part of being a chef is having the opportunity to try new things creatively, while gaining the insight of experienced culinary experts. Since the beginning of my apprenticeship, I’ve learnt new skills and techniques that gave me the confidence to make improvements to our deserts menu. Using my creative eye, I’ve changed the presentation of our Sticky Toffee Pudding and Cheesecake, giving a fine dining look to the deserts on our menu.

    Following these positive changes, my Line Manager, Robin, entrusted me with the responsibility of reviewing how we present our entire menu. Through my new responsibility, I’ve been able to adapt and improve a number of our starter dishes. Additionally, I now have the final say on the presentation of all dishes going out of our kitchen on a daily basis.

    Through the learning in my apprenticeship and putting my work into practice, I’m able to create a fine dining experience for our customers on our reasonably priced menu. My fellow chef’s and mentors, Julie and Matt, work hard every month to create new and exciting dishes, and due to the results of my work so far, I’m now included as part of their process, where I put the finishing touches on the presentation of new dishes we introduce to the menu.

Employers Hall of Fame


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    Beyond Food Foundation

    Beyond Food Foundation is on a mission to help vulnerable people in London reintegrate into society through education.

    Category: Small Employer of the Year - Sponsored by British Institute of Innkeeping

    Since 2005, the Beyond Food Foundation has played a crucial role in supporting and educating vulnerable adults across London. Helping over 100 people each year through its programmes, the Foundation works closely with those at risk of or who have experienced homelessness to help them to gain meaningful employment.

    Business Development and Fundraising Manager, Joanne Littman, initiated a partnership with leading hospitality training provider, HIT Training, to create further opportunities for employees to start a career and learn valuable skills through on-the-job training.

    Through this partnership, the Beyond Food Foundation has implemented Level 2 Production Chef and Level 2 Customer Service apprenticeships, in addition to specialised workshops and masterclasses.

    Joanne said: “We’re passionate about getting people into fulfilling and meaningful employment, thus breaking the cycle of homelessness, unemployment and poverty. Working with HIT Training allows us to not only break the cycle, but also provide nationally recognised qualifications that last a lifetime to those we support!”

    Working in communities within the London boroughs, the Beyond Food Foundation often encounters individuals in difficult situations and offers a holistic solution to improve their lives and get them into a career. The Beyond Food Foundation supports up to 12 apprentices a year who’ve been impacted by homelessness, drug or alcohol addiction, mental health issues or have just left the criminal justice system.

    Beyond Food Foundation CEO, Simon Boyle said: “Education is at the centre of everything we do. Additionally, we also dedicate our time to ensuring that those we help have been able to get their lives back on track and start thriving within society.”

    Recently, the business helped an apprentice to fix issues with their living situation, in addition to ensuring their learning journey stayed on track.

    “One of our learners was recently evicted from their place of residence, which was a cause for concern for them personally and their development plan. As a business that provides holistic support, we don’t just offer an education. So, we helped to move their belongings, find them a new place of residence so that they weren’t at risk of homelessness, provided financial support with travel fairs, and ensured that they remained engaged with their learning.”

    The Beyond Food Foundation has established themselves as a selfless and inspirational employer, by supporting its community and making a difference in the lives of those who need it the most. As part of improving people’s lives, the Foundation works closely with other hospitality employers to create partnerships that help their apprentice’s secure meaningful employment and a stable living situation.

    Simon continued: “As a business, we regularly try to increase our reach to access as much support as possible, be that within the hospitality sector or accommodation providers to secure jobs and homes for our apprentices. We’re fortunate to have established strong partnerships with Corbin & King, PWC and BaxterStorey, in addition to multiple hostels throughout London.

    “In addition to providing education, we’re committed to inspiring that the people we support. To do this, we work directly with Tottenham Hotspur, Meatopia, Premier Meats, The Savoy, Harrods and the Madeline Hotel so that our apprentices can visit these venues and see the wide variety of opportunities available to them..”

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    The Star at Cotton

    By investing in apprenticeships, The Star at Cotton is building a passionate, motivated, and committed team of young professionals wanting to build a career in hospitality.

    Category: Medium Employer of the Year - Sponsored by Flow Learning by Mapal

    In its modernised gastro pub, The Star at Cotton has provided modern British pub food in the heart of the Staffordshire Moorlands since 2020. Owners Emma Hall and Ryan Yates have re-built the business over the past two years, ensuring they thrived throughout the pandemic while retaining their 38 members of staff.

    In March 2020, Emma and Ryan took steps to create career opportunities and a culture of loyalty within their workforce by partnering with leading hospitality training provider, HIT Training. Knowing the challenges of maintaining a stable business during a global pandemic, they understood that investing in their workforce was essential.

    Emma commented: “Our top priority has always been to provide our team with strong support, direction, and leadership. Having HIT Training on board gives our employees mentorship and the chance to gain new skills from industry experts. Our partnership helps us achieve our goals of building a passionate, motivated, and committed team of young professionals who want to build a career with us."

    This was the first time that Emma and Ryan had implemented an apprenticeship programme, and with a variety of skills gaps to fill, and they decided to start with training their front of house staff.

    Ryan said: “Knowing the rewards that an apprenticeship programme could offer us, we enrolled our staff member, Ellie, onto the Level 2 Hospitality Team Member apprenticeship with the intention to move onto the Level 3 Hospitality Supervisor apprenticeship”

    Supported by HIT Training, Ellie’s learning journey provided guidance throughout challenging and difficult situations due to the pandemic. However, The Star at Cotton has already started reaping the rewards of investing in apprenticeships by raising awareness of on-the-job training among their workforce.

    Emma said: “By building Ellie’s skills and knowledge through her apprenticeship, she’s helped us step up our game as a business! From helping us to develop a new cocktail and seasonal food menu, to improving our knowledge of cellar maintenance and allergens. Ellie has passed on these skills to our entire team.”

    With the success of Ellie’s apprenticeship creating positive change throughout the business, The Star at Cotton has raised awareness of apprenticeships and taken huge steps towards creating a team of experts at the same time.

    Emma said: “Our workforce felt inspired by Ellie’s passion, skills and the difference she’s made with the positive changes she’s implemented. As a result, we’ve been able to get our apprenticeship programme well underway! Plans are already in place for Ellie to progress into a supervisor role and we’re enrolling one of our kitchen staff onto a culinary apprenticeship with HIT Training.”

    In addition to creating a culture of learning and supporting the careers of their workforce, The Star at Cotton is championing apprenticeships and the benefits of on-the-job training.

    Ryan added: “Investing in apprenticeships has given our team the confidence to recognise that they’re making a difference and that they can build a career with us. Our apprenticeship programme has helped us retain all of our staff during a global pandemic, while giving us so many positive results. We’re also providing a better service to our customers and promoting hospitality apprenticeships via our social media accounts to support the industry and celebrate the success of our employees.”

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    Compass Group UK & Ireland

    Compass is passionate about developing the future generation and making sure everyone has access to the first rung of the career ladder.

    Category: Large Employer of the Year - Sponsored by Hospitality Jobs UK

    Compass Group UK & Ireland is the UK’s leading food and support services provider, operating in over 6,000 locations across the country and employing tens of thousands of talented people. It provides tasty, well-cooked food and support services to improve the health and wellbeing of workers, school children, hospital patients, the military and visitors to the nation’s major sports and cultural events.

    In 2018 Compass embarked on a learning and development journey in partnership with one of the UK’s leading hospitality training providers, HIT Training. Both companies share a common goal of developing the future generation and making sure everyone has access to the first rung of the career ladder.

    Head of Apprenticeships and Early Years at Compass Group UK & Ireland, Jonathan Foot, said: “As an organisation, our aim is to empower our people through knowledge, experience and opportunity. We have an excellent and long-standing partnership with HIT Training and with their help, we have been able to operate our apprenticeship programme throughout the pandemic, allowing our apprentices to continue to learn, progress and achieve great things.

    “In addition to HIT Training, our partnership with Marcus Wareing has enflamed the imaginations of 15 of our senior chef apprentices, inspiring them to express their creativity and go far beyond their own milestones. We wanted to take our apprenticeships to the next level and by working closely with both esteemed chef, Marcus Wareing, and HIT Training, we have created something we’re all incredibly proud of. ‘Forward with Marcus Wareing’ is a cutting-edge culinary training programme which looks beyond cooking techniques to the social and commercial workings of the kitchen, and the realities of the climate crisis and food system.”

    However, it’s not all about culinary apprenticeships at Compass; the organisation offers over 40 apprenticeships, from Front-of-House to Facilities Management and Events, Retail, Business, Finance, HR and even IT and digital solutions.

    Jonathan concludes: “Our strong collaboration with HIT Training also allows us to effectively monitor both on-the-job and off-the-job training. HIT Training’s coaching sessions and Chef Academy workshops ensure that every single one of our apprentices gets top quality training and has the best possible platform to progress.

    “Reflecting on 2021, despite the challenges, we have made huge strides to develop our people at Compass. We launched our own internal Career Pathways, enabling colleagues to identify their next opportunities across the business. We’ve trained 350 apprentices and 100 Kickstarters, plus announced our investment in a Compass Academy to develop skills within hospitality, where we will be training over 12,000 people a year from a new base in the West Midlands.

    “Now, more than ever, it’s important to attract new talent into our great industry. Working in hospitality is ‘more than a job’, it offers individuals great opportunities to develop skills, knowledge, behaviours and career progression.”

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    YHA (England and Wales)

    YHA (England and Wales) is serving an essential purpose by connecting others through on-the-job training.

    Category: Best Community Outreach Employer of the Year - Sponsored by Professional Assessment Limited

    For the last 90 years, YHA (England and Wales) has been on a national mission to provide hostel stays and experiences at over 150 sites throughout England and Wales. It works hard to enrich lives by striving to improve the physical health, mental wellbeing and life skills of all.

    In 2019, YHA began a partnership with one of the UK’s leading providers of hospitality apprenticeships and vocational training, HIT Training.

    Dawn Holden, Recruitment and Training Manager for YHA (England and Wales), said: “Aiming to create more employment and progression opportunities, we set ourselves an ambitious target to have 50 apprentices enrolled in one year. After paying into our government levy fund, we felt it was time to step up apprenticeship training within our organisation.

    “With clear planning and a structured approach to managers and those at our national office, we were delighted to partner with HIT Training. They took the lead and helped us plan to offer a range of apprenticeships to provide us with a well-trained, capable workforce.”

    YHA (England and Wales) was excited to create structure and development opportunities in the hospitality industry and work towards its company mission.

    Dawn said: “Despite the obvious challenges of the past 18 months, we’re really pleased to have implemented 45 apprenticeships throughout our business. Some of these include Level 2 Hospitality Team Member, Level 2 Facilities Services Operative and Level 3 Learning & Development Practitioner, where we’ve supported people to improve their career prospects with YHA (England and Wales) and beyond.”

    Since introducing apprenticeships and prioritising training, YHA (England and Wales) has taken its investment to the next level by creating its own apprenticeship resources bank.

    Dawn said “In addition to having HIT Training’s resources at our disposal, we’ve created our own guides to support our apprentices, managers and mentors. These guides provide our apprentices with additional tools, and our leaders with guidance on how to make apprenticeship programmes work well within our business”.

    Working towards the company’s vision of ensuring everyone has access to the benefits of adventure, for the first time and a lifetime,YHA (England and Wales) aims to encourage volunteering opportunities and work placements.

    Dawn added: “We work with several partners to offer work placements and volunteering in the hospitality sector, these relationships are forged at national and local level with schools, colleges, and universities.

    These opportunities are a steppingstone to the world of hospitality and often lead to participants looking at further study and work opportunities in the industry, such as apprenticeships, as they see the benefit of the on-the-job support and training.”

    YHA (England and Wales) also works hard to inspire growth in its business and the wider hospitality sector within local communities. In pursuit of this, it made the most of the government’s Kickstart scheme, helping to create job placements in the hospitality sector.

    Dawn said: “Offering Kickstart placements in addition to recruitment with us has given the opportunity for new recruits to gain extended contracts, with the chance to enrol on apprenticeship programmes in the future. We’re delighted to have 10 placements underway, giving those in our local communities a steppingstone to the world of hospitality and long-term recruitment.”

    With a range of training programmes and a mission to impact local communities, YHA (England and Wales) is serving an essential purpose by connecting others through on-the-job training.