The City of Liverpool College has been hand-picked to work with restaurants across the North West to deliver Royal Academy of Culinary Arts (RACA) Chefs Apprenticeships, which are regarded as the gold standard for chef training in Europe.
Liverpool is the first city in the north of England to secure a prestigious partnership with the RACA to train the Michelin-starred chefs of the future.
Among those who helped to secure the coveted partnership and will be playing a key role in in its delivery is highly regarded chef Paul Askew, chef patron of The Art School Restaurant in the city.
The course represents a unique opportunity for young chefs aged 16 to 19 to receive the highest level of training while working alongside top professionals at the finest restaurants and hotels.
Successful candidates will be recruited for the first intake in September this year with a total of 16 places on offer for the new day-release programme which will see trainee chefs working at high-end establishments. A select number of high end restaurants and hotels in the North West will be involved in the scheme.
The City of Liverpool College was chosen by the Royal Academy due to its expertise and industry reputation. It is only the third college outside London to be picked to deliver the course.
During the apprenticeship, the young chefs will attend The City of Liverpool College each week for a day of formal training, practical work, culinary theory and assessments. The curriculum is cutting-edge and combines culinary traditions with modern developments and an internationally-informed body of knowledge.
All the trainees will receive industry-respected qualifications and sit the RACA final exam on completion of the course. If successful, the chefs will be awarded the coveted Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Diploma and become Graduates of the RACA.
The apprentices will also benefit from an unrivalled enrichment programme including demonstrations by leading chefs, “stages” at top restaurants and field trips to food producers.
The new recruits will undergo an intensive culinary traineeship before they start paid employment in industry, under the guidance of senior chefs, in January 2017.
The first apprentices will be expected to achieve NVQ Level Two in Professional Cookery by January 2018 and will complete the apprenticeship with a Level 3 in July 2019.
John Williams MBE, chairman of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, said: “The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts apprenticeships are at the heart of the core philosophy of the Academy and define and embed the countless culinary skills and talents at the highest levels for the next generation for professional chefs.
“This can only be good for the hospitality industry in the north of England and we are delighted to be working with the City of Liverpool College.”
Elaine Bowker, principle and chief executive of the City of Liverpool College, said: “To be chosen by the Royal Academy is an honour not just for the College but for the city as a whole. It’s recognition of the quality of our teaching and the quality of our partners such as Paul Askew.
“It’s also recognition of the great strides the city has made as a centre for culinary excellence and the importance of this sector to the wider economy in driving both leisure and business visitors and in encouraging talented people to live and work here.”
Paul Askew, chef patron of The Art School Restaurant and member of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, said: “This is the culmination of eight years of hard work and a really important moment for the northern branch of The Royal Academy.
“It’s really important to the get the qualification here. It helps the new up and coming chefs of this region achieve a level of qualification not available in the north before, and it’s hoped will go some way in breaking the cycle of skills drain to the south east.
“If we’re going to improve the food culture and the level of gastronomy in the north and of course the North West this was an important part of that jigsaw so they can remain on their home turf, still get the level of quality training and qualification and hopefully we retain them in the region.
“Those who achieve this qualification will be the restauranteurs of the future so the true significance of this should be felt for many years to come.”