The expert panel
Our expert panel comprises representatives from the Hotel and Catering Training Company (HCTC), Accor Hotels UK & Ireland, Greene King Pub Company, Simply Chefs by Hocaps, Bartlett Mitchell, Learnpurple, Conran, and Portfolio International.
I've been a chef since I was 16 and would like to further my career in management, but it's hard to find part-time courses or jobs that will take me on without bar experience. Any suggestions?
The answers Learn Direct offers a number of short or long distance learning courses in all aspects of management, which will increase your skills base and confidence. You could also approach your local colleges for details of part-time courses.
The HCIMA Advanced Certificate in Hospitality Studies covers all aspects of hospitality from food and beverage to customer service and sales skills. This can be done on a day-release basis, lasting two years. Details from www.hcima.org.uk.
Or why not consider joining a company which offers a comprehensive management training programme such as TGI Friday's? A structured path takes you through all aspects of the business, including bar management skills, equipping you with the knowledge and experience to further your career on your chosen route.
Contract catering also offers the chance to progress from a chef through to a supervisory role, or perhaps a chef-manager position. This is where your culinary skills can be combined with man-management, financial awareness and normal working hours.
Wendy Bartlett, director at Bartlett Mitchell
The short answer would be to find yourself a part-time job in a bar, perhaps at the weekend, and go from there. That way you might be able to gain experience while still in your current role. Be sure to check that this is OK with your current employer, as some contracts of employment include a clause about taking a second job.
Alternatively, you could look for an employer which offers a management training programme in which you would be exposed to other areas such as the bar.
If you're not having any luck, you could enlist the help of a good Recruitment & Employment Confederation recruitment consultancy - visit www.rec.uk.com.
Jane Sunley, managing director, Learnpurple
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