Croydon businessman and restaurant owner, Malcolm John, has come up with a rather unusual idea to recruit young chefs.
He wants to run his own Apprentice style competition, with the prize being a position in one of his restaurants.
John runs four restaurants in South London: Le Cassoulet and Fish & Grill in Croydon, Brasserie Vacherin in Sutton and Fish & Grill in Putney. The final four apprentices will be offered a place in one of them.
The idea for the competition came after the August riots, which gave John idea of helping young people with his initiative. He said: ”A lot of young people who were not involved in the riots were tarred with the same brush and I just don’t think that it’s right. We have to change the negative perception of Croydon and I think this is a way of doing that.”
The competition is open for teenagers aged 16 – 18 and it will last for three months.
However, the programme is unpaid. This means that teenagers are expected to work up to 20 hours weekly for free. John said: “It is unpaid, but it is a fantastic opportunity. We want to give people a chance to get involved in the working of a restaurant.”
Chef Malcolm John’s PA said: “In last few days we had a response from local school, college and other organisations, the interest is great so far.”
While the scheme is innovative it does expect young people to work for free for three months with no promise of a job at the end. Jamie Oliver’s ‘Fifteen’ apprenticeship is one of the most successful programmes.
Each of Jamie’s apprentices gets £120 weekly allowance, an Oyster card to cover travel costs, and all their equipment (uniform, boots, knives, text books etc.). There is also a ‘personal development programme’ to help each of young people with their career. Finally, they all graduate from ‘Fifteen’ with a certificate and college certification that may help them with their CVs.
According to the ‘Fifteen’ website, the scheme “ turns around lives of people with a very few career prospects into people with professional and outstanding skills.”
‘Fifteen’ is a multi skill training course, that not only teaches young people how to become chefs but also gives apprentices a chance to improve their social and financial situation and gives all applicants a chance for long-term employment.
Candidates interested in Chef Malcolm John apprenticeship scheme can apply in writing to: Malcolm John, Fish & Grill, 48-50 South End, Croydon CR0 1DP.