Deliveroo said today that it would invest up to £100,000 of its own apprenticeship levy into training new chefs as it warned that the kitchen skills shortage threatens the growth of the restaurant sector.
The delivery firm is calling on the government to act and urgently free up large employers to transfer more of their apprenticeship levy down the supply chain.
It has launched 4,000 online training courses for all 35,000 restaurant partners to help upskill their employees across the UK – saving restaurant partners thousands of pounds in training fees each year
New research commissioned by the company shows eight in 10 of Deliveroo’s restaurant partners are struggling to hire kitchen talent, saying it is “moderately” or “very difficult” to recruit new chefs.
More than half of restaurant partners (54%) cite not finding enough suitably qualified applicants as the main difficulty and barrier to hiring new chefs.
And nearly seven in 10 of Deliveroo’s restaurant partners say it is “moderately” or “very difficult” to recruit front-of-house and kitchen staff.
The new chef apprenticeship scheme funded by part of the company’s apprenticeship levy will see £100,000 per year invested to train up to 20 chefs a year.
The new scheme will be run in partnership with HIT Training, a specialist apprenticeship provider for the UK hospitality and catering industry.
HIT Training will work with Deliveroo’s restaurant partners and offer access to its national chef academy.
“We speak to restaurants across the country every day and want to help them tackle the challenges they face. That is why Deliveroo is investing in new chef apprenticeships and rolling-out thousands of online training courses for all our restaurant partners and their staff,” said Deliveroo COO Rohan Pradhan.
“Our priority is to help our restaurant partners hire, train and upskill restaurants’ workforces and develop a new generation of culinary talent.”
To address the sector-wide skills shortage of trained chefs, both Deliveroo and HIT Training are urging the government to lift the restriction on apprenticeship levy transfers and allow large employers the power to contribute as much as they choose down their supply chain.
Large employers such as Deliveroo are currently restricted by a 25% cap on the amount of unspent apprenticeship levy which can be transferred to businesses in their supply chains that would otherwise have to pay for an apprenticeship via the government co-investment model.
For Deliveroo, this amounts to nearly £500,000 over five years for small restaurants.
If Deliveroo were able to transfer up to 50% of the levy, for example, the sum could amount to £1m of investment directly to support a new generation of chefs and the restaurant sector, the company claims.