What's it like learning your trade on the job with Mitchells & Butlers? Meet teen trainees Mitchell Woodward and Chad Beesley.

Both are doing our 3-year Hospitality Management Development Apprenticeship (HMDA) - a scheme designed to fast track apprentices into supervisory roles whilst giving exposure to all job roles within hospitality to help you make an informed career choice suited to your skills and personality.

Earning while learning

Now a chef at All Bar One Birmingham Airport, 19-year-old Mitchell says:

"I've always been passionate about cooking. After realising university wasn't for me, I joined M&B as an apprentice. I loved the idea of earning while I learn, and the HMDA seemed like a great career move. My ambition is to be a kitchen manager in a really busy restaurant, or maybe a kitchen-skills trainer – with M&B there are so many opportunities."

Fulfilling potential

After finishing a college course in engineering, 18-year-old Chad started earning as a pot washer at a local competitor, he got the taste for the industry and joined M&B as an apprentice at The Victoria in Birmingham.

"I enjoyed the role and working environment so much," he says, "that it led me to starting the HMDA. I want to own my own pub one day, so doing an apprenticeship will help me work my way up quicker. And with a great company that'll help me reach my true potential."

Variety keeps things fresh Training includes on-the-job skills taught by the management team and the on-going support of a regional trainer from the M&B training partner 'Lifetime Training'. There are also M&B's bespoke online workshops which focus on developing your softer skills like personal reflection and development. Plus, mini assignments and workbooks you complete with regional trainers.

Putting in the hours

For both apprentices, one big challenge is the non-standard hours. "Being at an airport," says Mitchell, "we operate on different hours to most of the other M&B businesses, I sometimes start work at 3am with food prep, and we're open till 9pm. This can be demanding, but I wouldn't change my job for the world."

Chad smiles: "We're busiest at weekends and public holidays. But all the hard work will be worth it, one day, especially when I'm running my own business!" No two days alike and both enjoy the variety.

Mitchell says, "I love learning new things – how to open and close a kitchen and work under pressure. One highlight was running the kitchen on my own, and I'll soon be working front of house."

For Chad too, "It's great to get exposure to all areas of the business. Every day is different."

Could you handle it?

Mitchell reckons that to be a successful M&B apprentice, "You must be passionate about hospitality, as it's very hard work in a fast-paced environment. Ideally, get work experience before committing yourself so you know what the job's really like."

M&B's partners, Believe in Young People offer work experience placements so you can find out if hospitality is for you.

Glowing recommendation

And Chad agrees. "Late nights and early starts mean long days," he says. "Stress in the kitchen is a bit more than I expected, but I enjoy it and have quickly grown in confidence and knowledge. Doing an apprenticeship is well worth while, and I'd advise anyone thinking about it to crack on and get involved."

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