Cooking up a successful career

If you have ever been to Meldrum House Hotel, you’ll know what I mean when I say the beauty of the building and interiors is equally impressive as the views that surround it.

It is a stunning place in which to spend time, so, for those who get to spend their working day there, it must make getting out of bed in the morning that little bit easier.

The prestigious hotel threw its weight behind our Apprentice 100 campaign early in the process back in September and was keen to give one lucky youngster the chance to work in a vibrant and fast-paced industry.

Andy Burgess, chief executive of Meldrum House Hotel, said at the time the pledge was announced that the industry had “a responsibility to try to grow our own talent”.

“On that basis, we were very keen to support this scheme and to encourage more apprentices to join our industry.”

That was two months ago. The post was advertised and Jack Hall, from Fyvie, is the lucky person who gets to join the payroll.

After leaving Turriff Academy, the 21-year-old went to Aberdeen College for a year to study music and later spent some time doing seasonal work on an estate.

Then he spotted the chance to work at the prestigious Aberdeenshire hotel located less than 10 miles from his home village and went for it.

“I’ve always been interested in the way food is prepped and  presented and I thought it was something I could do and succeed in,” he said.

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Jack has now started his three-year structured hospitality training plan. During this time, he will complete his level 2 and 3 in professional cookery and will undertake a year of day release to college.

The programme will ensure he gets a great combination of classroom and workplace learning. He will also get statutory training which includes food hygiene and health and safety. At the end of the three years, Jack would also have the chance to specialise in a particular area.

The commis chef added: “I’m really enjoying it. I’m getting to do quite a lot and making things, which is great.”

General manager Peter Walker told Your Jobs in Scotland previously that Meldrum House Hotel had a long history of hiring apprentices.

In conjunction with Hospitality Training in Westhill, the venue has helped a number of young people complete their modern apprenticeships, mainly in the front of house departments.

He said that the industry was suffering a severe shortage of chefs in the UK and instead of trying to recruit, businesses should have an apprentice scheme that encourages more youngsters into the industry.


“If these young people can be developed over two or three years, then hopefully things like staff turnover will go down. You’re hopefully building up loyalty as well,” he said.  

As for his latest recruit, Peter said Jack was getting on great.

He said: “He’s exceptionally keen, he’s interested and he’s picking things up relatively quickly. If we can set him on the road to a successful career, then we’ve done our bit for him and the industry.”

CEO Andy said: “For Meldrum House, the apprentice scheme that the P&J launched was instrumental in highlighting the career opportunities in the hospitality sector.  Our need for homegrown talent is vital.

“We want to ensure that  apprentices go back to basics and gain the knowledge through specific schemes where they are encouraged to learn the trade and work their way up the ladder.  

“Jack, our apprentice that we acquired thanks to the P&J scheme, is now an important part of the team.  We hope to nurture his skills and give him the tools he needs to make the most of his ability in this ever-changing, fast-paced industry."


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