Mark Holden, Victoria Inn
Publican Mark Holden has been an award-winning provider of apprenticeships for several years, believing they have added value and helped the productivity of his three businesses.
He currently has nine apprentices working at the Victoria Inn, Threemilestone; Victoria Inn, Roche and the Norway Inn at Perranarworthal, but has seen more than 20 employees through the scheme via Truro and Penwith College over the past six years.
“Apprenticeships aren’t just entry level jobs for youngsters coming straight out of school – they’re fantastic opportunities for upskilling existing employees too,” he said. “It’s a brilliant way of improving and developing a business.
“We have many apprentice success stories from within our pubs, from managers to a chef de partie. When people think of the hospitality sector they think of waiters and chefs, but in reality it’s as diverse as accounting, marketing, customer services, health and safety, management, and many more adaptable skills.
“For us, apprenticeships are absolutely essential in generating fantastic career paths. But for our businesses, the number one benefit of apprenticeships is engagement and having staff who are committed to our business, which really helps with staff retention.
“Apprenticeships are an investment, they are not a cheap option. But my advice to any employer thinking about apprenticeships would be to absolutely go for it. There is nothing better than seeing someone come into your business with no skill set or confidence and seeing them develop and thrive.
“It’s like anything in life – the more you put in, the more you get out of it.”
One of his success stories is Darren Dunstan, a chef de partie level 3 apprentice at the Victoria Inn, Threemilestone, who won the Apprentice of the Year category at St Austell Brewery’s annual Tribute Estate Awards for the second time in January 2019.
Darren said: “Without the continued support from my colleagues at The Victoria Inn and without the training available, this wouldn’t have been possible.
“My future aim is to own and run my own restaurant, being an apprentice at The Victoria Inn is a fantastic starting point for me to reach my goal.”