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The lockdown experience: The White Hart, Woodbury

The lockdown experience: The White Hart, Woodbury

The Pandemic has been a tough time for many of the businesses Swatpro Academy works with.

But despite the hardship, we’ve been thrilled with their resilience – not least their continued commitment to training their staff to the highest levels.

Carl & Jayne Fentham run the White Hart in the village of Woodbury, near, Exeter.

Despite its rural location, the pub has made a good bounce back from Lockdown, with the help of their new head chef Jamie Hill, who has stepped up to the plate quite literally, as he is currently completing an apprenticeship overseen by Swatpro Academy.

Using knowledge gained in his Level 3 Commis Chef apprenticeship, Jamie has been able to design and cost a whole new menu of dishes, which has proved a big hit with the pub’s clientele.

Jamie is also in charge of all ordering, food safety, kitchen hygiene, stock control and all the statutory documentation that goes with the job.

His training assessor, Swatpro Academy’s Jen Scott says “It proves that what is learned during the Commis Chef Apprenticeship stands you in great stead.”

We spoke to Carl & Jayne to find out how they are coping post lockdown, and about their experience of hiring an apprentice.

Swatpro Academy: Are you back open fully? How has custom picked up?

C&J: “We are fully open to the public now and it has been a whirlwind. We’ve been so busy as Bank Holiday and half-term have brought loads of customers in.”

Swatpro Academy: How has Covid safety affected your operations?

C&J: “Covid-safe methods have been implemented to reassure customers. Mask-wearing is the most significant thing for customers and staff. A one-way system is in place and sanitation is ongoing. It does create extra work but it’s the safely of staff and customers that matters.”

Swatpro Academy: How about staffing: Are you back to pre-Pandemic levels?

C&J: “Not quite. We do need help for Jamie in the kitchen. We’ve been trying to get a new apprentice, however nothing has happened as yet. We do have staff that could possibly work in the kitchen, but they need to complete a food safety course first.”

Swatpro Academy: We can see that Jamie’s apprenticeship is working out well for you. How important is he for your business?

C&J: “Jamie has been so successful that now he is our head chef. Since we were able to reopen, he has shown he is so hard-working, and his organisational skills and food presentation has been amazing. We have had very positive comments from all customers.”

Swatpro Academy: How did he find training during Lockdown?

C&J: “Jamie has been in contact with Jen throughout lockdown and was fully prepared for returning to the kitchen. Jen kept contact with Jamie throughout lockdown either at work or via home tutoring and has informed us of his progress.”

Swatpro Academy: What benefits has having an apprentice brought to the White Hart?

C&J: “Jamie has benefited from the training as now he will have a qualification. Jamie has shown a passion for his work now and his knowledge has improved greatly. His attitude towards his work is shining through so we are proud that we invested in the apprenticeship for Jamie.”

The lockdown experience: The White Hart, Woodbury