Modern Apprenticeships – Inverlochy Castle Hotel

The Chez Roux partnership has been going on for a number of years. Albert Roux is a real promoter of apprenticeships. He also works with schools – he does the ‘Adopt a School’ scheme, and he does the apprenticeship scheme in-house. We work with all his establishments within Scotland and ICMA that manage his projects. Martin came straight out of school and started working at Crossbasket Castle at 16 or 17 years old, he was really young. But he showed such promise that his Head Chef asked us to go in and do qualifications with him. So we did the Patisserie and Confectionery qualification because he is absolutely brilliant, he has got a really good craft eye and he is really skilled in that department.=His journey is really quite amazing, he’s incredibly talented and he’s very humble. But he does really struggle with dyslexia, so we had to find ways to work around that. It’s benefited me massively because from the first days of working as an apprentice to now, my knowledge and understanding have grown massively and to be able to work with such world class chefs has been unbelievable. He has worked really hard at overcoming his support requirements and achieving his goals of getting a qualification. When he finished his patisserie qualification he moved across to Cromlix and Chez Roux out in Dublane. He then asked to do his Hospitality Management qualification. The Management qualification has given me loads of experience, especially in dealing with staff and leading a team. There are loads of things you don’t normally see from a junior position. When you start learning about the management side it really ties in to how you need to speak to people and how you need to lead a team. Martin has managed to progress through two qualifications while in the workplace. If he hadn’t done an SQA qualification he would essentially have all this skill but not have the qualification to show what he had achieved. So it’s really satisfying for him to actually have that confidence, but also to have the certificate to say you’ve actually achieved this. If you think about the people he must have gone to school with, they are probably still either at college or university and here he is progressing within the Chez Roux establishments and he is now the pastry chef at Inverlochy Castle. The skills I’ve gained as an apprentice are the foundations of what I’ve learnt and do today. Just general etiquette from being in a kitchen and working with so many different people. Coming into a new environment can be quite daunting but from the stages you learn as an apprentice it’s fantastic to incorporate them into your daily routine. And also just with day to day skills, the basics, so making bread, to sorting afternoon tea, are also vital elements to my job in my current role as pastry chef at Inverlochy. He regularly posts the most amazing pieces of chocolate work and and patisserie. I see his work on social media and it is absolutely beautiful. He is really really talented. What I would say to someone thinking of undertaking a Modern Apprenticeship would be ‘do it’. The benefits it has given me, the confidence especially, growing from such a young age in this industry. It can be quite a hard industry to come into at such a young age but the confidence that the Modern Apprenticeship gives you installs in part along your journey and it just grows and grows until you become fully fledged and it helps just get that recognition from moving from property to property that I do actually have qualifications that match my skills, and it’s not just purely based on word of mouth – I’ve got something to show for what I do.

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