New chef training programme to give disadvantaged young people a foot in the door

Beer for Good's new menu aims to give kitchen trainees relevant skills for the catering industry

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New chef training programme to give disadvantaged young people a foot in the door

Scotland's only social enterprise (SE) pub chain, Beer for Good started up as a way to offer employment opportunities to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. They own a number of venues across Edinburgh including Southside Social and Harry's Bar.

Their latest scheme is aimed at those looking for a career in the catering industry, offering a chef training programme that is the first of its kind in Scotland. Trainees will be given the chance to learn necessary skills for a career in hospitality.

It's not the first SE project that founder Chris Thewlis has brought to the city. As well as being heavily involved with Social Enterprise Scotland, Thewlis runs the SE security firm, GTS Solutions CIC, Spirits for Good CIC and at the back end of 2016, he co-founded Ginerosity – a gin that pours its profits back into helping disadvantaged young adults take part in International Citizenship Service (ICS) programmes.

Who can apply?
Beer for Good are looking for young people who struggled to achieve good grades at school and have failed to find work. Applicants will come from referral partner organisation such as Prince's Trust and they are hoping for the first applicants to start as early as February.

What does the course entail?
Head chef Matthias Sandler has worked alongside Thewlis to produce an interesting new tapas menu which trainees will use to learn and practise a broad range of cooking styles. To prepare students for work in a variety of different kitchens, Sandler and Thewis will use their contacts across the country to give apprentices experience in other cities.

The course takes three years and gives trainees an SVQ Level 5 in professional cookery.

Where does it take place?
Full time apprentices will be taken on at Harry's Bar, where the menu is already live, as well as its sister venue, Southside Social. Applications are also available for front of house trainees.

According to Sandler, 'It's not for everyone this job, it's a tough industry, there's plenty of adrenaline and action, but working in a kitchen you also get taught discipline and build strong ties. You're given a place to belong. He adds, 'everyone starts from the same position – they also come in as equals, but it's up to them how well they do'.

Information on how to apply for ICS funding with Ginerosity is available on the Ginerosity website.

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