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James Street South invests in tourism excellence with new Apprentice Scheme

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Award-winning chef Niall McKenna has confirmed the Apprentice programme, which gives hospitality students the chance to learn their skills from some of the best chefs in Northern Ireland, will return for 2016-17 for the third consecutive year. 

The scheme, which is endorsed by the Department for the Economy, will offer places to 12 students to study with chefs in the James Street South Group, which also includes the Bar + Grill, Hadskis, The Cookery School and Cast & Crew.  

The year-long placement is open to 16-24 year olds who combine on-the-job training with two days attendance at the Belfast Metropolitan College to gain their professional qualifications. 

Three of last years’ trainees have secured full-time employment with James Street South and Niall, who has been hailed as a “Tourism Hero” by industry chiefs here, says the programme is a solid investment in the future of world-class hospitality here.  

“This is a unique opportunity to develop skills in one of Northern Ireland’s fastest growing industries. Successful applicants will receive ongoing training through weekly workshops in our Cookery School, as well as regular activities to ensure a greater appreciation of food, such as meeting producers and others on the supply chain.  

This is geared for aspiring chefs who have the determination to succeed, learning from leaders in the industry and cooking with local produce to create the dining experience that James Street South is famous for.” 

Launching the programme, Economy Minister Simon Hamilton said it was a vital tool in developing and sustaining the hospitality industry here:

“In this, the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink, there has surely never been a better time for young apprentices looking to carve out a career in our outstanding hospitality industry. As our reputation as a food destination grows, so does our need for young, skilled chefs to sustain and develop the industry in the future. 

Apprenticeships and youth training have a vital role to play in my department’s skills delivery framework.  The Chef Apprentice Programme offers a great opportunity to establish a career in this exciting and vibrant sector, whilst also helping to ensure that Northern Ireland’s restaurants continues to go from strength to strength and, ultimately, contributing to the growth of our local economy.” 

Belfast Met Director of Curriculum, Jonathan Heggarty, said: 

“I am delighted to be here today representing the College. The strong relationship between Belfast Metropolitan College and James Street South is a key aspect of the Apprenticeship Programme, providing the apprentices with the best of both worlds.”  

“The James Street South Chef Apprenticeship Programme is an excellent opportunity for anyone who is keen to break into the culinary world. The blend of industry experience gained at James Street South complimented by the opportunity to gain a Level 2 Qualification in Professional Cookery at Belfast Metropolitan College offers aspiring chefs the building blocks to embark on a career in the culinary industry.”   

Anyone interested in the Apprentice Scheme visit the website for more information:

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