Senior Production Chef: The in-demand apprenticeship that’s hot in the kitchen
Overseeing any kitchen and its teams is a job that requires many skills.
As well as knowing how to cook, you need organisational and management skills, interpersonal and customer liaison skills, a knowledge of best practice, the law, budgeting, hygiene, health and safety issues.
In a busy kitchen, it’s a big ask. But this is where an apprenticeship as a Senior Production Chef comes in.
It is, says Swatpro’s Jen Scott, “An invaluable means of not just learning best practice, but understanding why kitchens adhere to that best practice.”
As a trainer who works with numerous clients throughout the south-west, Jen is very qualified to teach such skills. Her background has covered institutional catering, starting as an apprentice in a national steakhouse chain. Progressing to manager and area manager through to overseeing the catering operation for a large group of schools. Latterly moving into teaching, sharing her knowledge, skills and behaviours with employers and apprentices.
“Senior Production chefs work in time-pressured, tough environments. It is a very demanding job. “Big chains like Wetherspoons, McDonalds, Harvester and so forth demand total consistency, which is where this apprenticeship helps. Giving learners an insight into brand standards and quality points,” Jen notes.
While the hospitality sector, in general, may be depressed in the Covid economy, work prospects in institutional kitchens such as, hospitals, schools, nursing homes, barracks, prisons, are still buoyant. “Employers absolutely love this qualification,” Jen says, “And there are a lot of opportunities out there.”
The level 3 apprenticeship takes a minimum of 15 months to complete, and learners gain skills while working at their place of employment. Jen tailors the curriculum to fit the employer and apprentice and supervises the learning through regular communication and visits with both employer and apprentice.
“It’s an apprenticeship which teaches leadership skills. You learn to communicate well with your team and deal with customers and suppliers as well.
“You acquire business skills. You get to understand profit margins and waste reduction – essential things that employers look for,” Jen adds.
“It’s an important step on the ladder to supervisory and management roles.
“And on a personal basis, it’s a qualification I love teaching, and one our learners have really enjoyed taking,” she concludes.