Become an apprentice
There are many initiatives designed to help young people stay out of trouble and make something of their lives. As a successful social enterprise, Fifteen offers something very special: a trade which Jamie has made 'cool', a new sense of purpose and positive networks.
Fifteen London offers a 12-month Apprentice Programme that combines on-the-job-based learning, college-based work and personal development. It’s not just a training course. It's a custom-made programme, tweaked and shaped over the years in order to champion the young people which it recruits. Each year, 18 young, unemployed people, between the ages of 18 and 24, are recruited and trained to become professional chefs. It's an intensive programme that requires hard graft and dedication to the end goal, but it's a transformational journey; 90 per cent of apprentices regard their time with Fifteen as a positive, indeed, life-changing experience.
Fifteen London's Class of 2015 Programme runs from September 2014 to August 2015. Applicants can apply online from April to May 2014. 18 young people who are formally accepted will be asked to join the Fifteen London kitchen in early September.
Each apprentice, while in the Fifteen London kitchen, is trained across a number of sections of the kitchen:
- Fish and mains
- Food preparation
- Meats and grill
- Pastry and desserts
- Starters and salads
Over the course of the year, as they develop in confidence and skill, the apprentices begin spending less time at college and more time in the restaurant. This culminates in Chefs’ Week where the apprentices take over the Fifteen kitchen for a week, under the watchful eyes of the professional chefs.
Following this, the apprentices spend three weeks working in top-end restaurants to gain experience of how other kitchens work. Fifteen's got some great supporters from the likes of The Fat Duck, Rhodes Twenty Four and Bistrot Bruno Loubet, to name a few.
A recipe for a successful apprentice...
Fifteen receives about 200 applications every year, but just 18 apprentice chefs are recruited. In addition to the formal criteria, the team of assessors look for candidates who demonstrate:
- A passion for food and cooking
- A genuine desire to be a chef
- Determination to get the most out of the course
- An ability to work as part of a team
- Committed to working long hours, late nights and early mornings
The necessary ingredients...
In order to be eligible for the programme, you should:
- Be between 18 to 24 years old at the start of the course in September
- Be NEET (not currently in education, employment or training)
- Not have a qualification higher than an NVQ Level 1 in Catering or Level 2 in any other subject (equivalent to GCSE)
- Be living in the Greater London area
- Be able to work in the UK for the duration of the one-year course, with guaranteed housing
- You must be able to demonstrate a good command of spoken English
No previous experience in hospitality is needed, just bundles of enthusiasm
Ready to get cooking?...
If you fit our criteria and want to apply to our course, please complete the online application form which will be available on our website between April and May. Remember:
- You must be available for interviews and assessments taking place from early June to the end of July 2014
- You must be ready to start full-time by September 2014
- You'll need to work hard and long hours (late nights and early mornings)
- You'll need to be committed to the programme for one year
How the programme works...
The Apprentice Programme runs for a full year, from September to September. During this time, each apprentice works up to six days per week including formal training at catering college, hands-on experience at Jamie Oliver's Fifteen, sourcing trips to suppliers, personal development activities and work experience.
Below is a rough breakdown of the year:
- One-week induction at the start of the programme
- one day a week at college (until April)
- one day a week of sourcing trips, work experience taster days, welfare activities, team building sessions or special events
- up to six shifts in the Fifteen kitchen, training in every section including pasta, grill, butchery, fishmongery, front of house and pastry
- Two weeks of work experience at a top-end restaurant chosen according to our apprentices' preferences.
- 'Chefs' Week', where the apprentices take over the running of the kitchen for a week (with the professional chefs on standby)
For the duration of the course, our apprentices receive an £130/week training allowance. Travel expenses are covered and the year also includes a four-week holiday entitlement.
The door is always open...
As well as offering formal on-the-job learning, apprentices are provided with a wider range of support called the ‘Open Door Programme’ to help them make the transition to qualified chefs. The training team helps with a range of complex issues, which could hinder their achievements, such as housing, debt, relationship problems and anger management. Professional educationalists and counsellors are also on hand to provide the apprentices with the skills they need to make the most of their programme. This is just one way of helping the apprentices to leave behind the negative beliefs they may have about themselves so they can fully embrace what Fifteen has to offer.
As part of the Open Door Programme, apprentices undertake challenging activities to strengthen their team-working skills, which are essential for working in any kitchen. A handful of these include residential challenges, team cooking competitions, fundraising events, treasure hunts, ice skating and bowling.
Cutting the apron strings...
The Apprentice Programme culminates in an annual graduation ceremony. More than 300 people join in to celebrate the achievements of those who successfully complete the programme. Graduates, their families and friends, supporters and partners from other restaurants, welfare agencies and sponsors are all invited. Jamie also attends and co-hosts the event so that he can personally congratulate the graduates. It's a magical event. And by the end of the evening, there's not a dry eye in the place!
After graduation, a dedicated Progression Worker is on hand to help graduates find employment or further training, where needed and well as to offer advice on any ongoing welfare issues. Monthly graduate reunions ensure that previous apprentices stay in contact and help to further their skills.
There are currently 133 graduates from Fifteen's London Apprentice Programme and 80% of these stay in the buisness.
Progression support is also available to those apprentices who - for whatever reason - leave the programme early.
If you have a job opportunity that you'd like us to advertise to our graduates, please get in touch.