Leading pizza chain Pizza Hut announced a significant partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University last week.
An astonishing 1,500 apprenticeships is set to be created across five years - a huge step in establishing apprenticeships as a legitimate educational route.
This collaboration will offer the full range of apprenticeships from Level 1 to degree standard. The programme will include a mix of academic and practical modules and will be open to both Pizza Hut employees and apprentices.
The aim is to provide employees with a range of skills, from guest service and hospitality leadership through to more technical requirements focusing on food production and financial analysis.
In terms of how the apprenticeships will work, Elizabeth Gorb, Director of Apprenticeships for Manchester Metropolitan University said, ‘The managers or aspiring managers will be selected by Pizza Hut to join the MMU Management Degree Apprenticeship. They will take a special Hospitality Management pathway. In addition to formally taught units there are business focussed projects which will enable the apprentice students to put their training into practice in the workplace and to use their actual work as live material for their degree.’
This is a huge step in righting wrongs that have previously marred fast food chains where apprenticeships within the hospitality industry are concerned. Emily Thornberry, Labour’s shadow work and pension secretary believed that burger flipping undermined the value of apprenticeships and that people should be learning a trade.
‘Being a child of the seventies I think of as an apprenticeship as being an older person taking a younger person under their wing and training them for a period of time, giving them skills which are really saleable and actually there are quite a lot employers who just repackage things as apprenticeships and really they are not learning a great deal,’ she previously said.
It seems that Pizza Hut and Manchester Metropolitan University have been thorough in their approach, ensuring that students of all levels are gaining adequate skills, whether it is through practical or academic means.
We spoke to Pizza Hut Restaurants who addressed concerns about exploitative apprenticeships saying, ‘This will not be the case for any of our apprentices. All our apprentices will be offered a team member wage that is in line with the rest of the restaurant as opposed to the apprentice wage. They will also take part in a dedicated programme which will provide them with a range of skills from guest service and hospitality leadership through to more technical requirements focusing on food production and financial analysis. Each individual will be supported by a personalised development plan to ensure structured progress through the organisation.’
We were thrilled to hear this news at Training and Courses, especially the decision to pay apprenticeships a wage in line with the rest of their staff. Not only does this go a long way in making apprentices feel integrated and part of the team as they are on the same earning level as staff members, but it also sets a standard for others to follow when it comes to implementing their own apprenticeship programmes.
Gorb explained that ‘companies and university academics are working together to design programmes which are relevant to today's rapidly evolving workplace. It is very important that apprenticeships are seen as high level challenging vocational programmes.’
Access to so many areas within the business will no doubt equip students with knowledge that they can then apply if they choose to specialise in a particular area within the hospitality sector. Students enrolling on this programme will be able to achieve a B.A. Hons degree while working and earning. According to Gorb, these active partnerships will also help their full time students in terms of work placements, speakers from industry and jobs for graduates.
‘Our apprenticeship programme has been crafted to provide our students with the skills they need to ensure a long and successful career in the hospitality industry.
‘Over the past two years we have had a specialist team who have worked hard to develop the best possible programme for our apprentices which will offer them everything from customer handling and leadership skills through to more technical qualifications for managing a business. Importantly these are skills which are easily transferable to other industries, helping to equip our students with skills and experience for life, not just for one job,’ Pizza Hut Restaurants explained.
With the industry setting these standards we are hopeful that other businesses wanting to follow suit will be forced to think about the quality of their apprenticeships and what they are offering both practically and academically. Apprenticeships add incredible value to our economy and give people a very special opportunity to earn whilst they learn. It’s never been more important for businesses to engage with the educational sector and provide prospects that will transform the next generation’s lives.
Training and Courses offer a number of apprenticeships across various industries. Start your search now.