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When times get tough, we train harder! Our competitive edge through training
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Within hospitality, many competitors have de-skilled the level of craft competence to reduce cost; relying instead on meals produced in centralised production units. At BaxterStorey, we have always done things differently, no matter what the economic climate.
BaxterStorey’s business ethics are founded on skilled professionals producing delicious and nutritious freshly prepared food using locally sourced, sustainable ingredients, along with front of house teams delivering excellent customer service.
Investment in training is core to the business and has enabled a competitive advantage. It has helped BaxterStorey develop its three distinct training academies; Chef Academy, Barista Academy and the Leadership Academy.
Chef Academy – in 2006, employee turnover for chefs was 31%. In 2012, turnover dropped to 9.1% with 46% of those graduating from the programmes being promoted.
Barista Academy – launched in 2009, is a training facility with a variety of coffee machines. The academy enables students to get practical, hands on experience to make great coffee. Over 900 baristas and managers have undertaken the programmes over the past three years.
Our academies are industry leading and are the only training facilities specifically designed to train and promote our people.
The Chef Academy is supported by renowned Michelin starred chefs such as John Campbell, Nigel Haworth, Mark Hix and Tom Kitchin. Students spend time in kitchens with these inspirational chefs to hone their skills and gain exposure to the most current food trends.
The Barista Academy was developed with the support of James Hoffman, the World Barista Champion. There are three levels of programmes from coffee appreciation to an advanced level for those who are really serious about their craft.[/one_half_last]
We are a dispersed business and in the past we have suffered from a lack of effective communication routes with the participants on our academies. However, we overcame this by creating a series of ‘mini-portals’ where candidates on a specific Academy can download course details and joining instructions, upload course work and communicate between their peers. We named these CAPO (Chef Academy Planning Online) and LAPO (Leadership Academy Planning Online).
In addition, with hindsight, we have tightened our selection and assessment process turning this into a challenging and stimulating experience with robust feedback sessions.
Our academies have focused and tailored programmes and our Chef Academy is now industry leading. It has five tiers; Apprenticeship (NVQ level 1 & 2), Certificate, Diploma, Culinary Arts Programme and Degree in International Culinary Arts.
It is through our professional, qualified and talented individuals and teams that we are able to develop a bespoke service for clients. Investment in training is therefore vital and has enabled a competitive advantage which has contributed to BaxterStorey growing from its inception in 2000 to where we are now – an employer to approximately 7000 people across the UK and Ireland.[/one_half_last]
Head of Skills Development
Having worked for over 25 years in the contract catering sector, originally as a chef, Graham has always worked for a company with the owners name above the door. From Leith’s (Prue Leith) through to Holroyd Howe to BaxterStorey, it is important to Graham to have worked for businesses where the ownership is independent and entrepreneurial.
At the heart of each of those businesses was the passion and drive for people and their development. This is what took him over the years from a craft based role into learning and development.
His experience has led to his creating training solutions that are based not only on content but on manner of delivery. The hospitality sector is renowned to be a busy and hard working environment where time pressures can reduce the opportunity to train and develop. By supporting the business with versatile and adaptable training solutions, the acceptance and therefore effectiveness of development becomes cultural to the business.
Establishing strong threads of development such as BaxterStorey’s academies has strengthened development pathways for the teams and set a marker for all to aspire to. Heading up a strong team of trainers and L&D specialists, Graham is able to deliver over 80% of training in-house and therefore has huge adaptability to support the fantastic business growth BaxterStorey has achieved.