Further education establishment Hugh Baird College is to launch an apprenticeship that will enable students to work in Michelin-starred restaurants, in partnership with Northcote chef Nigel Haworth.
The college, which is based in Bootle, near Liverpool, launched its new L20 Hotel School in August, and the new L20 Northcote Apprenticeship will cover subjects such as the origins of ingredients, the history of Liverpool food, how to run a profitable kitchen, food management, stock control, how to devise menus and the best way to run a service.
The course is available in a 12-month and 18-month version, with both options offering "on-the-job" training; field trips to local producers; and regular visits from Haworth who will help lead training sessions and meet the students.
The best-performing students will be offered the opportunity to prove themselves at one of Haworth's Northcote Group restaurants, of which there are several with Michelin stars.
L20 Hotel School director Mike Mounfield said: "We are delighted to be working alongside a chef of Nigel's outstanding calibre and also combine with the restaurants and hotels within the Northcote Group. We have been in discussions with Nigel for months refining the details of the apprenticeship package. Essentially, this is about providing added value. We are teaching for a vocation not a qualification."
Hugh Baird College principal Yana Williams commented that the scheme demonstrated the school's intentions to support the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership's growth strategy, which is a six-country wide North West scheme to boost economic development. Visitors to the region currently spend around £3.4billion a year (and growing), but it is hoped that the scheme will boost hotel and restaurant trade further as part of a drive to increase its short-break appeal.
She said: "We want to ensure we provide local people with the facilities and training to capitalise on the opportunities that lie within this sector and help the visitor economy grow."
For his part, Nigel Haworth called the opportunity "unique" and said it provided a chance to develop promising North West regional talent above and beyond the minimum standard, giving apprentices the skills to exceed job requirements.
He said: "Apprentices will develop in-depth skill and knowledge through a broad array of engaging experiences. It's an incredibly exciting time. The sky's the limit."
Haworth became head chef at Northcote in 1984 and has been joint managing director with a 50% share since 1989. Having won a Michelin star in 1996, the chef is also behind the Northcote Group, which manages sites including Northcote; Ribble Valley Inns (The Three Fishes, The Highwayman Inn, The Clog & Billycock and The Bull At Broughton) and Northcote at The Rovers.
With over 7,000 students over 16, Hugh Baird College runs more than 300 vocational courses including Business Studies, Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy.