Catering students from Rugby are answering the staff shortages in the hospitality industry by taking up positions across the county during their studies - including at Bilton's much-loved Granny's Sandwich Shop.
Fifteen students on Professional Cookery courses at Rugby College, which is part of WCG, have taken up part-time positions in the sector as it reopens following the pandemic.
They have taken up roles across the hospitality and catering industry, ranging from restaurants and pubs, to butchers and fish and chip shops – in towns and cities including Coventry, Rugby and Leamington Spa.
Almost half of the students across the Level 1 and Level 2 courses have been able to achieve employment, with many using qualifications gained already as part of their studies to appeal to employers.
Prior knowledge of health and safety has been highly sought after by employers as they have less time and staff to dedicate to training.
Some of the students have also been helped to get jobs with the front of house qualification gained during their Level 1 course.
One such student is Emma Woodward, who has started working at Granny’s Sandwich Shop in Bilton.
She said: “The practical lessons at the college kitchen have allowed me to practice my baking which is something I am passionate about.
“It has helped me with the job at Granny’s Sandwich Shop.
"I want to be a pastry chef so I am really happy to get the job.
"The front of house qualifications have built my confidence in talking to and serving customers.”
Level 1 student Harry Holton is working at Holiday Inn in Rugby. He said: “Choosing the course at Rugby College helped me to understand I wanted a job in the catering industry and has helped me to get my foot in the door.
“I have picked up many skills from the college that I use daily in the kitchen at Holiday Inn, for example knife skills and health and safety.”
Tutor Ian Sands said: “Employers are looking for a good underpinning knowledge of catering in first- time employees and it’s brilliant to see so many of our students securing jobs.
“We encourage our students to go out and gain experience, and now is a great time to do that with employers looking for staff to help with their day-to-day operations following the pandemic.
“Many people have moved out of the hospitality industry, which is seeing employers delve deeper into the talent pool. The fact that these students have already developed skills with us at college has stood them in good stead.”
Student Aaron Noreiga has also secured a job, taking a front-of-house position with the Newbold Comyn Arms in Leamington Spa.
For more information on Food, Drink and Catering courses and apprenticeships at Rugby College visit www.wcg.ac.uk/rugby