Leiths School of Food and Wine has launched a Hospitality Recovery Grant worth £750,000 aiming to assist the UK hospitality sector by bridging the skills gap in professional kitchens and ease the recruitment crisis.
The grant will provide 100 free places and a further 1,000 part-funded places on Leiths' online courses with professional intent.
The training will support those who are within the industry at a junior level as well as those without experience looking to embark on a career. The training can be full-time or part-time and can take as little as six weeks to complete. Each student is allocated a Leiths teacher as a mentor.
The 100 free places will be awarded on a first-come basis and 70/30 in favour of independent restaurants under the threshold of the apprenticeship levy. The same applies to the 1,000 part-funded places.
The grant is aimed at both restaurants and individuals looking to upskill where they have a prospective employer. Students will be given the opportunity to attain Leiths qualifications with an assessment weekend at a discounted rate on completion of the online course.
Businesses and individuals, via their employer, can apply for Leiths' Hospitality Recovery Grants here.
Camilla Schneideman, managing director of Leiths, said: "As a cookery school at the heart of the sector, we have been canvassing the opinions of chefs and restaurant groups to establish how we can best serve the industry we take great pride in training people for. The one tool that we have in our armoury which could reach a large number of people are the Leiths online courses. The courses can be taken anywhere as long as you have kitchen space and a smartphone, and can fit around shifts."
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: "Hospitality is in desperate need of a skills boost, particularly in kitchen roles, so we fully support and welcome this programme. UKHospitality is committed to collaborative solutions to the sector's recruitment challenges, as demonstrated by our 12-point plan for employment. Leiths has taken great initiative in launching this programme, which will help upskill hundreds of chefs while simultaneously highlighting and addressing those challenges."
Leiths was founded in 1975 by Prue Leith and Caroline Waldegrave and is now owned by Jennie Bland.