Cairn Group pioneers new apprenticeship programme to champion hospitality careers

Leisure operator Cairn Group has launched its own national training programme creating apprenticeships and opening up career development opportunities.

Cairn Academy offers apprenticeships across the group’s UK-wide hotel portfolio for people at varying stages in their careers, along with a dedicated approach to management and leadership progression.

The Academy has been developed by Cairn Group, with support from training and apprenticeships specialist Lifetime Training, and aims to encourage employees to grow with the business by providing access to expert training, support and guidance.

An initial cohort of 43 new and existing employees have been enrolled across hotels in the UK, such as Redworth Hall Hotel in County Durham, The Majestic Hotel in Harrogate and The Old Ship Hotel in Brighton, with additional opportunities and materials set to roll out in early 2018.

This first intake has seen Cairn Group enroll apprentice chefs, offering the chance to gain practical skills whilst on the job. Existing supervisors and heads of department in housekeeping, leisure, reception and maintenance also make up the cohort, who will all take part in learning and development training initiatives to aid progression.

The employees are based at the group’s UK hotels and have been assigned a dedicated mentor. They will take part in a 12 to 15 month training programme via a combination of online learning and coaching, with regular visits from a regional trainer and the support of their in house mentor, leading to a recognised qualification at the end of the process.

Cairn Academy will have two intakes per year, with the next group set to enroll in spring 2018.

Richard Adams, HR director at Cairn Group, said: “Since the Apprenticeship Levy came into fruition in April this year, we have been working closely with Lifetime Training to develop an initiative to best support our members of staff keen to grow with the business, and create apprenticeship opportunities to encourage more people to progress their careers in the hospitality industry.

“In addition to opening up apprenticeship opportunities for those in the early stages of their career, Cairn Academy will appeal to our current employees in management positions by providing convenient access to learning materials, training events and guidance from a dedicated mentor amongst other elements.

“So for us it’s exciting to have our first cohort on board and I wish them luck in their training. A focus now is to raise the profile of the Academy to ensure prospective learners, internally and externally, know it is available to them.”

The first cohort are working towards qualifications at the group’s hotels in England, including Level 3 Hospitality Supervisor, Level 2 Food Production and Cooking, and Level 2 Commis Chef apprenticeships, as well as Level 3 Senior Chef Production Cooking. In Scotland and Wales, Cairn Academy offers Level 3 Hospitality Supervision and Leadership, and Professional Cookery at Levels 2 and 3.

David Rothera, who is leading the project at Lifetime Training added: “It’s great to see employers show commitment to the development of their people as well as generate worthwhile job vacancies, which Cairn Group is a leading example of, positively utilising the Apprenticeship Levy to nurture and source talent in the hospitality industry.

“The company has a strong vision for Cairn Academy which we are pleased to have helped make a reality, and look forward to building on this down the line as a long-term partnership.”