In 2021, Compass launched a pioneering culinary programme in collaboration with Michelin starred chef Marcus Wareing and one of the UK’s leading hospitality training providers HIT Training. Known as ‘Forward with Marcus Wareing’, the programme aims to develop a new generation of culinary leaders and forms a unique partnership that has proved exceptionally successful.
The trailblazing programme, which runs alongside a Level 4 Senior Culinary Chef or Level 5 Operations Departmental Manager apprenticeship standard, delivers state-of-the-art training that focuses on sustainability, creating a more diverse kitchen brigade in terms of ethnicity and gender, developing mental health first aider skills, mentoring and analysis of different leadership styles and outcomes.
Head of Apprenticeships and Early Careers at Compass Group UK & Ireland, Jonathan Foot, comments:
“‘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.
“We are delighted that our strong collaborative partnership with HIT Training is continuing to evolve and grow, and that together we have created this unique and hugely successful programme of learning which has been designed to stretch and challenge, whilst giving a career enhancing experience to all participants.
“As an organisation, we want to take our apprenticeships to the next level and inspire our chefs to express their creativity and always go above and beyond. By working closely with both esteemed chef Marcus Wareing and HIT Training, we have created something we’re all incredibly proud of.”
Apprentices on the ‘Forward with Marcus Wareing’ programme benefit from a range of experiences including field trips where they are exposed to different culinary aspects such as cooking over fire, foraging and fermentation to bring points of difference to their cooking and explore ways to preserve the seasons through food. They are also given the opportunity to attend away days organised by both Compass and the HIT Training Chef Academy.
“The breadth of experiences to complement the programme is exemplary and includes important elements that will benefit the future careers of our apprentices,” added Jonathan. “To celebrate the programme, apprentices recently put on a "walkabout" showcase lunch to explain to the company what they had learned. This was held at a partner hotel, The Grove in Hertfordshire, where vegan food, foraged food, a course made purely from waste and trimming, and fermented food and drinks were all showcased.”
The ‘Forward with Marcus Wareing’ programme currently has 31 apprentices on programme. In addition, a staggering 600 apprentices are in training or in the process of being signed up to other apprenticeships within Compass Group UK & Ireland covering culinary, front-of-house and management.
“For those who have completed their apprenticeship, 72% remain in our business,” said Jonathan. “It’s a figure which proves how investment in apprenticeship training and supporting the skills development of our existing employees attracts new talent to our business as well as career progression.
“It’s something we are truly passionate about and why the ‘Forward with Marcus Wareing’ programme is crucial to our future goals."