One of the UK’s leading care groups has launched a new apprenticeship academy for budding chefs.

Aria Care Group has partnered with Lifetime, a leading training provider, to offer its Chef Academy, in response to industry-wide challenges in recruitment.

The academy aims to support people with their development and career prospects and nurture Aria’s own homegrown culinary talent.

As a rolling programme, the apprenticeship is open to people of all ages, offers nationally recognised qualifications and the opportunity to learn more about the hospitality industry, which people can join throughout the year.

Five apprentices have already attended two masterclasses – the first in Billingsgate Market, London, in October, which also marked the official launch of the academy; and the second which took place on Thursday, 8th February.

James Clear, director of hospitality at Aria Care, said: “Every day is a learning day as a chef. As a group we invest in our training and apprenticeships provide an exciting opportunity for people to gain nationally recognised qualifications, learn more about the hospitality industry, and achieve the next steps in their role.

“The masterclasses are hands-on courses which not only have all the candidates learning together and encouraging each other, but also gives them the opportunity to witness the skills of our experienced chef trainers first hand.”

Tom Withers-Ryan, second chef at Aria Care’s Ivy Court Care Home in Norwich, said: “The Aria Care chef academy seemed like the logical choice to support me in my journey towards a future head chef role. My favourite part of the programme is the masterclasses; these practical days are great as I can use the skills I have learnt every day in my role, while developing my knowledge of working in a kitchen and my understanding of food preparation.”

In addition to the launch of the chef academy, Aria Care has also rolled-out new crockery into each of its communities. The duck-egg blue Churchill stonewash crockery is designed to offer a day-to-day premium dining experience, while its independence toolkit of crockery, cutlery and drinkware supports residents with dexterity challenges and visual impairment, while still providing a high-level experience.

James said: “From the chef academy to the introduction of new crockery, our aim is to always provide the very best experience for the people living in our communities. Food and drink is really important for social interaction and comfort, but we know there’s still a big stigma around care home food.

“We provide ‘hospitality from the heart’ with a nutrition and hydration framework which is shared with all of our homes. The crockery is important to offer a premium style dining experience, while the independent tool kit further supports residents to ensure everyone is able to enjoy their food and get the most from this time.”

For more information about Aria Care, visit www.ariacare.co.uk