Budding chef hails ‘hands-on’ learning as apprenticeship applications in Redbridge rocket

Charles Veale

Charles Veale - Credit: Archant

“Hands-on” experience and working with “real people” is what an apprenticeship has given one student aspiring to be a chef, as figures reveal more people than ever are stepping away from the classroom.

Figures from the National Apprenticeship Service reveal there were 3,410 applications for apprenticeship vacancies in Redbridge in February, March and April of this year.

That compares to 1,400 in the same three months of 2012, showing a 143 per cent leap in the popularity of such courses.

One student who has taken on an apprenticeship is 17-year-old Charles Veale.

He is more than halfway through a one-year NVQ level two hospitality and catering course at Redbridge College, Barley Lane, Little Heath.

He said: “I get to do hands-on work. I work with real people in the profession, not apprentices.

“You get to see how they react to how fast or slow you are and you adapt to that.

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“I’m not sure what kind of chef I want to be. I can get into the kitchen and see what I like doing, and what my cooking style is.”

His on-the-job experience has seen him work at Rendezvous Bar & Grill, High Road, Chadwell Heath, and Redbridge College’s own kitchen, Rouge.

“Most of my time is spent in the kitchen [during the course],” said Charles.

“If I’m not in the kitchen, I’m revising for exams.”

According to the National Apprenticeship Service, almost 73,380 apprenticeship applications were submitted in London online between February and April, a 48 per cent increase on the same period last year.

Charles, of East Ham, said: “I would recommend it [apprenticeships] to other people. It’s hands on and it shows you how it works.

“You can’t learn that any other way than experiencing it for yourself.”