My Day as a Regional Trainer...

On a bright, crisp Wednesday morning in April I grabbed myself a tea to-go and a couple of blueberry muffins to kick start my day of shadowing Dee, a Hospitality Regional Trainer for the South West. Smiling brightly, and wearing her Lifetime lanyard like a red carnation, I met Dee outside Bristol’s Support Hub.

“I’m just parked over here” she said, pointing to a row of three cars “He’s a bit of a beast!”

“You’re not wrong!” I exclaimed, hopping into the right hand passenger seat of what I later found out was Dee’s pride and joy; an eight seat Lincoln Navigator as seen on the TV show Dexter.

“He’s imported from America” she says affectionately as we speed off in the direction of our first stop of the day, a Greene King pub called Redwood Farm in the Patchway area of Bristol.

As we make our way through the traffic I get to know a little more about Dee, her role and what she has scheduled in for her day. A trainer for eight years, she’s been in the Lifetime family for 18 months. With a background in chefing, pubs and restaurants, front of house and internal quality assessing Dee’s experience makes her the perfect Regional Trainer for our learners looking to get their qualifications in hospitality.

“I love seeing the learners complete and knowing I’ve helped get them there” she explains proudly “and I love the flexibility the role brings. Trust plays a big part in both the role we do and the relationships we have with our manager and our clients, and I like that”

We swing into the car park of Redwood Farm and manage to find a space big enough to fit the motor she calls ‘Miguel’. Dee’s first meeting of the day is with her manager, Mike Bird, to conduct her Evolve Conversation. As we walk in one of the staff members greets her warmly, like an old friend, and immediately comes over to see how she is. As they chat my eye is drawn to the array of amazing iced and decorated Easter cakes and treats in a glass cabinet near the bar.

“They make them all in house” Dee explains, seeing the joy in my eyes “They have three pastry chefs!”

We take a seat and tuck into the muffins I bought for us whilst we wait for Mike to arrive. From here, I have to keep silent as Dee’s Evolve Conversation, although all very positive, is a private matter. However, overseeing the conversation was a great insight into what it takes to be a Regional Trainer, the challenges and highlights they face and how my role can support them. It’s obvious that Dee embodies all of our DNA Behaviours in her role; she has a great knack of building trusted relationships with her learners to aspire them to achieve their goals and excel in their performance.

Our next stop, after grabbing some lunch at a nearby Sainsbury’s, is a Frankie and Benny’s in Emersons Green to meet with one of her learners, Tieron, who is two visits away from completing his Food Production and Cookery Level 2 course.

“Tieron’s one of my best current learners. He recently transferred from Green King to Frankie and Benny’s, so this is my first visit to him at this particular site.”

We park up and make our way inside. As we wait to be seated Dee informs me that the visit is just an observation and, as we’re seated near the open view kitchen, she spots Tieron. “Oh, he’s making deserts! Fantastic, that’s one of the things I need to observe him on today” As she gets out her laptop I spot the menu and, stomach rumbling, start to wish I’d forgone my chicken salad sandwich and gotten a famous F&B burger!

Dee shows me Tieron’s learner plan, talks me through what it is she needs to observe him on today and then what happens to complete her visit.

“So, today I need to see Tieron do these things” she lists “Which should all be easy as I’ve already seen he’s been making deserts and I think he’s now preparing some starters”

I glance over into the kitchen and see Tieron darting about, putting ingredients together and popping the dishes on the serving counter. We order a couple of glasses of Pepsi and Tieron comes out to see us.

“Hi Dee, how are you?” He beams, obviously glad to see her and, even though near the end of his eight hour shift, is still full of energy. He explains a bit more about the dishes he’s been preparing that day, and Dee asks him how he’s found the transfer from his previous Greene King restaurant to Frankie and Benny’s.

“I’m loving it here, it’s great to look forward to coming to work!” Dee smiles and types up a few notes. They go into the kitchen for a bit of quiet space to allow Tieron to complete a DVR (Digital Voice Record) of what dishes he has completed as a record of the visit and confirm he’s completed the actions Dee has ticked off on his learner plan. Once they’re back, Dee, Tieron and his manager Steve sign off the visit sheet and he heads back into the kitchen.

“I’ll see you on the 25th for our last visit Tieron, and complete your qualification!” Dee exclaims. Tieron smiles back and thanks her. It’s great to see the positive relationship they’ve built up and how much of a difference it will make to Tieron in his career progression. As we say goodbye to his manager and the rest of the waiting staff, we head back to Dee’s car for one last drive into Bristol.

“Today’s been a good day” Dee says, and I have to agree. Shadowing her has really opened my eyes to the work they do and served me well in remembering how every one of us can be a positive influence to people in the jobs we do.


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