Connor and Jade former Hospitality Apprentices standing infront of a pub

Connor and Jade – Hospitality Apprenticeship

6 July 2022

At North Notts College we offer a wide range of different apprenticeships, all designed to ensure that apprentices get hands-on experience in their industry and build connections with local employers. 

One industry where experience and connections matter more than most is Catering and Hospitality. We offer apprenticeships in Hospitality that range from Level 2 to Level 4. Connor Bailey and Jade Wilkinson are two former apprentices at North Notts College, who have shown how an apprenticeship can turn a dream into reality. 

The Students become the masters

Like many others, the pair started off their careers in the hospitality industry at a young age, with Jade starting off as a pot-washer at 16 years old and Connor, at 18 years old, working as a bartender. After getting a taste for the industry, both Connor and Jade wanted to gain qualifications alongside their experience and completed apprenticeships with the College.

Today they are both general managers of The Chequers Inn, an award-winning pub situated in Ranby, a short drive from our Retford Post-16 Centre campus

Speaking about their journey from apprentices to general managers, the pair underlined how important it is to get hands-on experience.

Connor said: “Because we worked our way up through the ranks and learnt both the skills and the knowledge through our apprenticeships, the jump from each level wasn’t very difficult.” 

The Apprenticeship Journey

Both Connor and Jade started off their apprenticeship journey at Level 2, with Connor later going on to study a Level 3 Team Leader Supervisor Apprenticeship. Throughout their time at College, the pair learned skills and knowledge such as customer service and care and supervision of food and beverages as well as developing an understanding of the business environment and its competitors. 

Speaking about her apprenticeship, Jade was full of praise for the experience. 

She said: “I really enjoyed developing my knowledge through the apprenticeship and the support I received from my Training Officer Kerry Pritchard was unbelievable – I knew I could call any time of the day and she would be able to support me with any problems or questions.” 

Connor added that the apprenticeship offered a deeper level of understanding of the industry than his previous years of experience could provide. 

He said: “Before I started my apprenticeship I felt like I knew everything there was to know about the business, but whilst doing my apprenticeship I got to take on so much new knowledge and it opened my eyes. 

“The key knowledge that I take away is the technical side of the business, where I learnt core skills such as how to maintain cellar hygiene and how to manage coolant temperatures – something which really comes in handy during the hot summer months.”

‘Without our apprenticeships, our name wouldn’t be on the door’

Taking their apprenticeship journey full circle, Connor and Jade are now looking at employing two apprentices from North Notts College and passing on key knowledge that they’ve gained along the way. 

The pair said: “We’re really excited to have two apprentices join us. 

“If you’re going to be working in a pub or hospitality environment, you might as well get your qualifications alongside your work – You’ll further your knowledge and get qualifications and licences along the way – it’s brilliant!”

Finally, Connor commented on his gratitude for his experiences during his apprenticeship. 

He said: “Through the apprenticeships, I received the licence I needed to be able to run a pub. 

“Without our apprenticeships, our names wouldn’t be on the door of this pub.”

Learn more about apprenticeships in Catering and Hospitality

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