You are here

Yalbury Cottage - Dorchester, Dorset

Back to Success Stories

Two miles outside Dorchester, the 300 year old Yalbury Cottage is set in the hamlet of Lower Bockhampton - the heart of Thomas Hardy's Wessex. Run by Jamie and Ariane Jones, Yalbury Cottage boasts an award winning restaurant that serves only the finest raw ingredients from the best suppliers in Dorset and eight cosy rooms. Last year Yalbury Cottage was voted Small Hotel of the Year by The Good Hotel Guide.

Jamie and Ariane actively promote apprenticeships to their employees. They have a successful history with training their staff to an exceptionally high standard. One of their previous chef apprentices Crystal Old, went on to work in Raymond Blanc’s two Michelin Starred restaurant, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons.  “We want to give our staff a good grounding for life and help them to be able to hold themselves in any catering establishment around the world,” said Jamie. 

Jamie and former Apprentice Charlie still keep in touch

Jamie went on to explain how they take on apprentices for two years at Yalbury Cottage so that they are able to complete the intermediate level, immediately followed by the advanced level. “We also send the apprentices for work experience in top class establishments,” said Jamie. “They choose where they want to go and we organise it for them. That way they get to experience the challenge of working somewhere different, outside of their comfort zone.” 

Another success story is chef apprentice Charlie Jeffreys. Charlie completed the Advanced Level Professional Cookery and has gone on to work at the three Michelin Starred The Dorchester in London as Commis Chef with Alain Ducasse. While working at Yalbury Cottage, Charlie embarked on a work experience placement at Galvin at Windows. They were so impressed with him at Galvin’s that he was offered a permanent position there as well, but unfortunately they couldn't take him on immediately so he took the job at The Dorchester instead. “I love seeing the difference the training makes to the apprentices,” commented Jamie. “It was a real pleasure seeing Charlie grow from the shy 14 year old who walked into my kitchen years ago into the confident, capable chef he is today.”

HIT Trainer Assessor Hannah Nicholas has been working with Jamie and Ariane at Yalbury Cottage for the last two and a half years. “They really are an inspiration,” said Hannah. “Jamie is a fantastic employer to work with. He fully supports the apprentices throughout their apprenticeships whilst working closely with me. Jamie gives them fantastic experiences whilst at Yalbury Cottage and job opportunities to maximise their career potentials. I enjoy watching them progress over the two years and seeing them complete their advanced level apprenticeships.” 

Jamie believes that there are not enough training opportunities within the hospitality industry and this is an issue that needs to be addressed. He said, “I cannot thank HIT and Hannah enough for all their help and support. It is a real pleasure to work with them. Together we give young people attention and hope for the future and our relationship does not end the minute they walk out the door.” 

Be inspired by Charlie Jeffreys' success story. 


It was great speaking to our account manager, Catherine, this afternoon and great to hear that HIT are being so supportive with our apprentices, I found the call very positive in a time of crisis, so thank you.

The Learner’s leaflet is great and being sent out to Apprentices and Line Managers following our communication last week providing a great follow up.

Jonathan Foot - Head of Apprenticeships, Compass Group

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

HIT Training has provided such an incredible support to us during lockdown, with regular webinar invitations, videocalls and engagement solutions. Our business focus shifted to learning and development and we managed to enrol 3 times more apprentices on training programmes than before!

Anastasia Talatzidou -L&D Manager, Gaucho


Over 450 training staff operating countrywide



With a strong local focus, HIT Training offers coverage throughout the nation. Our skilled trainers and training consultants are based in every county of England.

You can apply for a training programme with HIT at any time whether for current staff or looking for new team members. Or if you just need someone to talk to, we’re always pleased to hear from you.

Find a local expert