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Phoenix De Giorgi - Chef De Partie, The Brend Hotel Group, Devon

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When starting out as a chef, Phoenix De Giorgi knew he wanted “a hands-on experience” to help hone his skills in hospitality. So, when offered the opportunity to do an apprenticeship at The Brend Hotel Group’s Saunton Sands site, he jumped at the chance. 

On leaving school, Phoenix, 18, was presented with two options: going to college or doing an apprenticeship, to start his chosen career as a chef. Offering first-hand experience in a working kitchen, Phoenix decided to do a level 2 Commis Chef apprenticeship at Brend Hotel’s Saunton Sands establishment. 

Based in North Devon and overlooking three miles of beach, Saunton Sands is a four-star art deco hotel – a flagship for the Brend Hotel Group, a collection of 11 luxury hotels across the South West. A testament to the high-standards found within, the hotel has won many prestigious awards, most recently achieving two AA Rosettes for dining.

Speaking about his decision to do an apprenticeship, Phoenix said, “I have gained a huge amount of experience while working towards my apprenticeship, not just in how to be a chef but in time management, handling responsibility in the kitchen and organising my work load.

“This apprenticeship has enabled me to develop my skills with Brend Hotels. I have learnt how to efficiently prepare food to the highest standard, manage my area during our busy evening service, and run checks to make sure nothing has been missed from the prep book.”

The Brend Hotel Group is a champion of apprenticeships and works with HIT Training – the provider of choice for apprenticeships in the hospitality industry – to deliver its training programme. For his apprenticeship, Phoenix worked closely with HIT Training which provided a supportive and experience-driven course. 

With this support, Phoenix has not only gained new skills but has now progressed to a level 3 Chef-De-Partie apprenticeship and is responsible for showing new chefs how the kitchen works. 

When asked why he chose to do an apprenticeship with The Brend Hotel Group, Phoenix said, “All the staff have this amazing ability to solve problems when they arise and still serve A-class dishes to all our customers. It is such an inspirational environment to be part of as everyone loves their job, which means I’m inspired and constantly driven to do my best at all times too.

My apprenticeship has given me the tools to be able to jump into any job that needs doing, I am able to provide a helping hand, which goes a long way in a kitchen as everyone is busy. Without HIT Training and the team at Saunton Sands I wouldn’t have gained the skills I have now.

Phoenix is one of the first apprentices in the hospitality industry to complete the new apprenticeship standards (officially launched last year) and has achieved a distinction with the help of HIT Training and The Brend Hotel Group. Brend Hotels was an early adopter of the new apprenticeship standards, which have been designed to ensure all apprenticeship training is high-quality, rigorous and specifically crafted to develop the knowledge and skills required to work within the hospitality industry. Phoenix was also one of the first apprentices to participate in Brend Hotel Group’s Training Academy, which launched in 2015 at Saunton Sands. Since launching, the Academy has gone from strength-to-strength and provides paid training places for young people from the local area who are keen to pursue a career in the industry.


Testimonials

McMullen’s chose HIT as its sole external provider for Apprenticeships and vocational qualifications in early 2015 and since then we have found them a pleasure to work with.  Their expertise in this sector is superior and they have proven to be a professional and supportive partner who have a passion for learning and development, which matches our own organisation.

Amanda Walden – Training & Recruitment Manager, McMullen's

Encouraging our staff to improve their skills set and supporting them through apprenticeships and training programmes underlines our commitment to help them further develop their own careers. Offering the Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship also gives the Brend Group a point of difference which I’m convinced will help attract new members of staff in the future.

Andrew Mosedale - Group HR Manager, Brend Hotels

Our partnership with HIT has certainly made recruitment much easier in a very difficult labour market and gives us a point of difference in an increasingly competitive environment.  Kew Green has also benefited enormously from well trained, skilled and competent staff who contribute significantly to the ever improving and high levels of customer experience that our guests expect and deserve.

Andrew Tregenza - HR Business Partner, Kew Green Hotels

Apprenticeships allow us to give people a great opportunity to develop a career with us and learn a skill or trade that will accompany them throughout their career and life. We see progression to the Level 4 qualification as key to our strategy of providing development at all stages of an employee’s career with Harrison.

Alex Taylor - Training Manager, Harrison Catering Services

We chose HIT as our training provider not only because of their specialist knowledge of the hospitality industry, but also because of their genuine passion for our brand and their understanding of our company culture. We believe that they can deliver our training to a very high standard whilst passing on our company ethos and values. Their attention to detail is second to none.

Charlotte Thoms, Talent Manager, Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group

There is a shortage of skilled chefs within in our industry at present and any organisation that truly believes in the value of training and development of bright future stars will enable themselves to be in a strong position for the years ahead. Investing in smart training and development is at the heart of what we do within WSH, so it has been refreshing to work alongside HIT within our Baxterstorey Chef Academy. 

Rik Razza - Head of Chef Development, BaxterStorey

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