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Chris Wilcox - Front of House Team Member at The Grove Hotel, Hertfordshire

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With no real career plans after finishing his A-Levels, Chris Wilcox thought an apprenticeship in hospitality “seemed like an exciting route”. Now, having completed his Hospitality Team Member Apprenticeship with HIT Training, Chris is climbing the career ladder in hotel corporate sales.

One of the first hospitality employees in the UK to successfully complete the new apprenticeship standards, Chris works at The Grove, a luxury hotel, spa and golf resort set in 300 acres of Hertfordshire countryside.

On leaving school, Chris wasn’t sure what direction he wanted to take but felt a career in hospitality could be an exciting option because of the doors it opens into a variety of job roles. Fortunately, The Grove wanted to provide him with the best possible start to his professional journey and an apprenticeship programme was discussed as part of his recruitment package.
“I was lucky enough to be offered the opportunity to undertake an apprenticeship and jumped at the chance,” said Chris. 

“My main objectives were to learn how a hotel runs day-to-day and get a feel for all the different departments. From the get-go, I wanted to have a better understanding of the difference between working on reception and as a concierge, to serving guests in the restaurant and taking event reservations.”

With support from HIT Training, Chris has not only gained a new qualification but the skills and knowledge to quickly and efficiently recognise customer needs, know how to match them to the products and services of The Grove and work as part of a team to ensure every customer feels welcomed and looked after. 

Chris’s manager, Sally Humphrey saw the value of an apprenticeship, not just in improving the understanding and experience of team members but also the impact it can have on staff retention and motivation. 

Sally said: “We’re so proud of Chris. It can often be difficult for people to move into the job roles that they want and getting a hands-on approach, by doing an apprenticeship, has provided him with a wonderful stepping stone to kick-start his career in the hotel sector.

“Everyone on the team has also found it extremely helpful having someone who can jump into any role when needed – which has definitely boosted morale during busy periods and proved Chris is a valued member of our workforce.”

Chris concluded: “I’m thrilled to have completed the new Hospitality Team Member Apprenticeship and I’m so proud to have received a distinction. The encouragement I’ve had from my manager and my HIT trainer assessor has been second to none. I would definitely recommend a hospitality apprenticeship to anyone, there are so many roles in the sector and it’s a great way to find one that best suits your skill set."

HIT Training is the first national hospitality training provider to deliver the new apprenticeship standards, which are part of the Government-led overhaul to the apprenticeship system. The standards are designed to raise the bar and ensure training is in line with the requirements of the fast-paced hospitality industry and individual job roles.

Unlike the old apprenticeship frameworks, the new standards focus on one end-point assessment, which was carried out by Training Qualifications UK (TQUK) for Chris. The new process is designed to be even more rigorous, with the final assessment being tailored to each individual apprenticeship. Across all standards, this includes a two-hour observation, multiple choice exam and interview to discuss the apprentices’ learning journey and past experiences. 


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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