The Journey of a Regional Trainer...
I have been working with Lifetime Training for nearly 2 years now as a Hospitality Regional Trainer for the London East Team.
I started my career by completing three years at a catering college, two years of the traditional Level 2 City and Guilds food service and cooking for the catering industry and, one year of Professional Cookery Level 3. This allowed me to then start working in the Hospitality industry which started in The Greenhouse under Head Chef Gary Rhodes (Yes the one from the 90’s), which at the time was a Michelin Starred restaurant. I started at The Greenhouse as a 1st Commis, this was a real eye opener into the world of professional cookery; but once I got a taste for it, I knew it was the job for me!
After a year at The Greenhouse I then moved on and became a Chef at The Lanesborough Hotel, a 5 star hotel on Hyde Park Corner. I worked there for about 10 years from Commis Chef to Junior Sous Chef. I really enjoyed my time at the Lanesborough and it gave me the skills and a work ethic I still follow to this day.
My last job before coming to Lifetime Training was as a Head Chef Designate for Novus Leisure who own Tiger Tiger nightclubs and various branded bars around London. I first came to Novus after leaving London and returning to my home town of Portsmouth. When working at Tiger Tiger Portsmouth I started as a Sous Chef and then became Head Chef. I eventually moved into the Designate role which involved Head Chef cover and training, health and safety checking, and branding implementation for all Novus kitchens.
During my time at Novus, I started to realise that the part of my job I really enjoyed was the inducting and training of new chefs into the company. During my career at Novus I saw many of the people I had trained become Head Chefs in their own venues or restaurants. I saw something in them and helped them to develop in their roles. I found this more fulfilling than the number of people I had served or the quality of food I could cook and this lead me to think about how I could be more involved in the training of people for the Hospitality industry.
During this time I had recently got married and had moved to Kent, so I started to research how I could use the skills I had learnt over the many years in the kitchen and transfer these to a role focussed on training others. This was when I found an advertisement for a Regional Trainer for Lifetime Training. After researching the company I realised they were quickly expanding, and in this competitive age, if a company is growing then in my opinion they must be doing something right. They were looking for people who were qualified within the hospitality industry and who had strong occupational experience to invest in and train individuals through apprenticeships within their work environment. I had no formal teaching or assessing qualification so this seemed an opportunity.
I sent off my application form and was soon invited to an assessment day in London. I attended the day with approximately 30 other people. The more I talked to everyone the more I began to feel like I had no chance as most of them were qualified or had previous training experience. I tried not to think about this and proceeded with the morning which was a mix of functional skills assessments and speed interviews which I really took a lot from, thinking that if nothing came of this I had gained some experience in formal interview situations. I was also able to get a better insight into the life of a regional trainer.
After lunch the group was short listed to 5 people who were invited to stay for a further interview, and I am happy to say I was in that 5! I then proceeded to have an interview with Fraser Lewis-Hale who is the Hospitality Operations Manager. The interview went well, I could tell Fraser kept it quite relaxed and was wanting more of an informal chat to get more information about myself and for me to ask any questions I had. I left the interview thinking I had done all I could and waited to hear back from Lifetime.
A few weeks later I was happy to hear that I had got the job and was over the moon, I was then invited to an Induction process at Lifetime Head office called On-boarding. On boarding gave me a lot of information about the company and my job role. We also received all the equipment we would need including laptops and a phone. Throughout the on boarding process the one thing I was struck by was the amount of people that came to introduce themselves, including Operational manager and Directors. I can honestly say that I have never worked for a company where the heads make an effort to come and say hello and made you feel at home as if you were joining a family and not a business. That feeling continues to this day!
As part of the training process, I was also able to complete my formal qualifications. This is fully supported and produced by Lifetime, and time was put aside to complete any work as required. As a result, I am now a qualified RT achieving my CAVA qualification and completing the Education and Training certificate.
Once I had completed the on-boarding process I met with my Area Manager Louis Dawkins, who helped me settle into my role and showed me the ropes. The support you get form the managers in this company is amazing, I have never once not been able to reach Louis when I have had an issue or a question, even when I know he has been busy himself he has always taken the time to help, and this goes for everyone at Lifetime.
The other big aspect of Lifetime, and the thing that keeps me going when times get tough are my team. I work in a team of about 12 other RT’s and although we do not see each other much due to the nature of the business they are always there. We have a Whatsapp group which everyone is very involved in and it is a great tool for asking questions that you are not sure off. I also talk to most of my fellow RT’s most days. The support you distribute yourself and receive from others keeps you going and I believe makes me a better trainer.
If you are reading this and thinking of making the Jump into training, then I would say go for it! It is the best decision I have ever made; it has given me a better work-life balance, especially as I have since had my first child. It allows me to spend the time with him, something I never thought was possible. It is also very fulfilling to know that you have taken an apprentice that is new to Hospitality through their first experiences and helped them complete their first NVQ, setting them up for the future; it is an amazing feeling. I also have a number of students who have gone on to complete the next level NVQ and become managers themselves.
I hope my story opens up a new door for you, trust me you won’t regret it!
I look forward to working with you soon!
Find out how you could join the Lifetime Training Team. Call us on 03330436607 or visit www.lifetimetraining.co.uk