Apprentices step into Hell’s Kitchen for national celebration

Apprentice Bake Off Winners
January 26, 2022

Some of the brightest apprentice talent from across the North East will prove they can stand the heat when they step into the kitchen for National Apprenticeship Week 2022.

Two North East teams will compete against 12 counterparts from across the rest of the country in the Great Apprenticeship Bake-Off, which has been devised to showcase the incredible talents of the UK’s young workforce.

Organised by the North East Apprenticeships Ambassador Network (NEAAN) with the support of the British Army, the Bake-Off forms part of a week-long programme of events to celebrate apprenticeships and demonstrate the benefits they offer individuals and businesses of all sizes.

NEAAN Chair, George Ritchie MBE, said: “We always try and do something different for Apprenticeship Week to take our Ambassadors out of their comfort zone, but also showcase how apprenticeships equip you with the skills to shine even when you’re placed in a somewhat alien environment.

“The Great Apprenticeship Bake-Off is going to be spectacular, with Ambassadors from across the country competing for the title under the tutelage of some of the British Army’s finest chefs, who are used to catering under extreme circumstances and will be there to lend a hand should any of the competitors get into any difficulties with their bakes.”

The National Apprenticeships Ambassador Network stretches across the country, and teams from the nine regions will compete in the kitchens in Army facilities at Grantham, in Lincolnshire, and Worthy Down, Hampshire.

Lt Colonel Wendy Faux from HQ Regional Command UK Engagement, said: “The British Army is a staunch supporter of apprenticeships and we are delighted to lend our support to this event, which will hopefully shine the spotlight on how transferable skills learned during apprenticeships can help people thrive in the most unusual of circumstances.

“Our chefs are used to catering for large amounts of soldiers in some extreme circumstances, so their calm, professional approach will hopefully help calm a few nerves in the Apprentice Bake-Off kitchen.”

Each “baker” will receive a branded apron and chef’s hat while the winners will be awarded a trophy.

As well as the Bake-Off, NEAAN has arranged and will support partners with a number of other activities and events over the course of National Apprenticeship Week, which this year begins on February 7. These events include an online event in with the Federation of Small Business about how apprentices can help business, on February 8th at 5pm, an “Ask the Apprentice” online event on Wednesday February 9, at 9:00am, also supporting the “BIG Apprenticeship Event” at Hartlepool College on Wednesday between 5pm – 8pm. NEAAN is also handing out around 50 “Bee Bombs” to Ambassadors to plant bee friendly wildflowers across the North East.

NEAAN will also be focusing efforts across social media, with a showcase of video interviews with Apprenticeship Ambassadors explaining why they chose that career path and the benefits it has afforded.

Among a packed week of activity, the regional apprenticeship champions have organised an online “Ask the Apprentice” event, during which people and businesses can quiz current Apprenticeship Ambassadors; NEAAN is also working with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) to promote apprenticeships to more SMEs and supporting an event with Hartlepool College to engage more people in the apprenticeship agenda.

Young Ambassador Network co-vice chair, Natasha Scorer said:

“Frustratingly, once again COVID has impacted on our plans to organise a diary of face-to-face events, but as apprentices, we’re taught to be innovative, so we have managed to overcome those difficulties by providing online events and a socially distanced Bake-Off.

“I was lucky enough to take part in the North East Great Apprenticeship Bake-Off a couple of years ago at Sage Gateshead and while it was really nerve-wracking, it was also great fun to compete against friends and fellow Ambassadors from across the region – I’m optimistic that our regional representatives will perform well in comparison to the rest of the UK when they enter the Grantham kitchens in February.”

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