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National Apprenticeship Week

National Apprenticeship Week is an annual week-long celebration of apprenticeships across England and is a time to recognise and applaud apprenticeship success stories across the country.

This week is our chance to celebrate our own fabulous apprentices and the brilliant work they are doing with Talkington Bates.


Having started with Talkington Bates as a Catering Assistant when she was only 19 years old, Zoe, nearly 33 has been with us for over 13 years. End of 2019, she started a Commis Chef Apprenticeship with Chef Manager Neil White. Her hard work, commitment and new journey is the proof that it is never too late to start an apprenticeship.

What made you want to do an apprenticeship?

For my personal development really. I have learnt a lot from working with Neil over the year and I just want it to continue.

What would you like to get out of it ?

It would be great to learn more skills and get some qualifications.

How will this help you as a Chef ?

Hopefully, this is the beginning of me becoming a Chef.

While it’s early days, how are you getting on?

There is a lot of information to take in but I am looking forward to progressing.

What has been your favourite dish to learn so far ?

I have been cooking Chicken with Tarragon and Mushroom sauce followed by Chocolate Mousse for my family. This has given me the confidence to attempt more at home.

Neil White, her mentor and Catering Manager for TB answers a few more questions:

Very early days, but how is it going ?

Zoe is doing well. I like the fact that she is now in chef whites. It’s like putting on a smart suit isn’t it? Makes you stand tall and take pride in what you are doing.

How is it like to work with apprentices?

I have worked with apprentices in restaurants before, but this is a very different environment. No one is shouting here!

Would you say you may also learn from it ?

Catering is constantly changing so it will be good to see exactly what Zoe must do to achieve her goals. I’m sure I will be learning a few things with her along the way. Nobody knows everything so you should never stop learning.

What can Zoe bring to the kitchen as an Apprentice ?

Zoe has always been good at listening and following instructions. Just what you want from an apprentice.


Emily will soon be completing her apprenticeship with Talkington Bates as a Commis Chef. Her motivation, 'can-do' attitude and determination have not gone unnoticed. Emily has been entering for the Nestle Toque d’Or 2020 and with the selections for the competition's National heats later this month, we have our fingers crossed for her.

“I’m incredibly thankful to Talkington Bates for this opportunity to learn a trade I have passion for. Their mentoring & support network is all I need to complete my apprenticeship successfully.”

There are a wide variety of apprenticeships available with Talkington Bates such as Senior Chef, Hospitality Supervisor, Team leader, Department Manager – so if anyone would like more information, please email Louise at

Undertaking an apprenticeship is your opportunity to learn new skills, improve your competence and job prospects. Talkington Bates have worked with HIT Training for many years. HIT is the leading specialist training and apprenticeship provider for the UK’s hospitality and catering industry.

Professional Chef Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are not just available for school or college leavers but to any chefs already working in the industry. Whether you wish to improve your skills, undertake more responsibilities or get real opportunities to pursue your career goal, a HIT apprenticeship may be just right for you.

Who Can Apply?

Chefs at all levels and ages can gain new skills with the apprenticeships involving on-site learning, e-learning and assignments, with frequent on-site visits by industry experienced chef trainers.


1. Earn while you learn and gain real work experience

2. Receive recognised qualifications, gain independence and develop self-confidence

3. Benefit from ongoing and personalised support


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