Investment in apprentices has paid off for Oulton Broad’s Ivy House Hotel

Dr Adrian Parton MBE, chairman and proprietor of Ivy House Country Hotel.

Dr Adrian Parton MBE, chairman and proprietor of Ivy House Country Hotel. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Since I purchased Ivy House Country Hotel in 2013 we have invested £1.7m in the fabric of the building making sure it is the very best it can be.

An aerial picture of Ivy House Country Hotel. Picture: IVY HOUSE

An aerial picture of Ivy House Country Hotel. Picture: IVY HOUSE - Credit: Archant

But investment needs to take place in many forms, so the next natural step for me was to make a further investment in people.

We have a great team of staff, but I decided that it was time to give young people who are looking for a career in the catering business a chance to excel.

So in September last year we took on five apprentices at the same time – a huge commitment and some would say a risk, but it is one that has paid off.

With support from East Coast College we have two lads who are training to be chefs and three other students who are training in front of house.


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All five are performing extremely well and one of the chefs has even been trusted to run his own service for an evening with supervision.

Before we decided to set up our apprentice scheme we used agency staff, which we still do on occasion, but we wanted to replace the inconsistency associated with that and gain extra stability.

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The whole idea of having apprentices was to find local people who want to do the work and are keen to be trained.

Keith, the head chef runs training sessions, teaching them the tricks of the trade and they only spend minimal time at college.

My advice to anyone thinking about taking on an apprentice is to really establish a need.

Go through all the proper channels, using a government apprenticeship scheme and if possible build some links with a local college and students who have a passion for your vocation.

Don't just take someone on for their labour – you have to be willing to commit and help them grow with the understanding that they may leave you once they have obtained all the skills they need.

Obviously we hope our apprentices remain at Ivy House, but whatever they wish to do we are proud to have supported their careers.

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