Chef Academy aims to help with growing problem of chef shortages in the UK

The John Lewis Partnership has become the first retailer to launch its own Chef Academy to help address the current shortage of qualified chefs in the UK.

The move comes as a joint survey released by UKHospitality, the British Institute of Innkeeping and the British Beer and Pub Association revealed that staff shortages in the hospitality industry are reaching critical levels. The survey found that 76 per cent of operators within the sector currently have chef vacancies.

JLP will be taking on up to ten apprentices this year, with the potential to increase that number in the future as part of a long-term commitment to support the hospitality sector.

They will spend a year learning and working in the kitchens of JLP’s head offices and hotels, which cater for its 78,000 staff. The apprenticeships are being advertised on, with anyone welcome to apply. 

More than 80 per cent of the course will be hands-on experience with candidates learning different roles, helping to create everything from breakfasts to eight-course fine dining dinners, as well as catering for big occasions like weddings and charity events.

Upon successful completion, apprentices will receive the industry-recognised Professional Commis Chef Level 2 qualification. 

Michael Abadee, an executive chef for the John Lewis Partnership who has been in the hospitality industry for 30 years, said: “The UK has always delivered some of the world’s best chefs, but that has come under threat in the last two years as the industry has come under increased pressure. The Academy is a huge opportunity for people with a shared love of great food to be inspired and develop the skills they need to become the country’s future chefs.”