The Awards, now in their 19th year, were held at The Great Western Hotel in Newquay and were attended by shortlisted nominees from the Brewery’s 180-strong estate of pubs and hotels in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset.
Darren is no stranger to success at the Awards having scooped Apprentice of the Year when the category was introduced for the first time in 2017, while studying a level 2 Commis Chef Apprenticeship at the College.
Now 19, Darren progressed onto a level 3 Chef de Partie Apprenticeship in September 2017 with his employer, The Victoria Inn, Threemilestone, a St Austell Brewery tenanted pub. Ahead of his expected completion in March Darren has been awarded Apprentice of the Year for the second time and was presented with an IPad Pro to thank him for his hard work and dedication.
Darren commented: “The whole evening was great from the food to the entertainment and seeing everyone’s success through the year! Massive thank you to the Victoria Inn for the continued support and the training opportunities they have given me. All of my achievements wouldn’t have been possible without them!”
The Victoria Inn, Threemilestone, which was also shortlisted for Customer Service of the Year (Tenanted Pub) and Community Pub of the Year on the evening, offered Darren the opportunity to complete his Chef de Partie Level 3 Apprenticeship after demonstrating exceptional work in the kitchen and additional commitment to help market The Victoria Inn through weekly blogs and photography while completing his Level 2 Apprenticeship.
In addition to his performance in the kitchen, Darren’s nomination stood out to judges as he is currently mentoring the Victoria Inn’s entry level 2 Commis Chef Apprentices having undertaken an additional train the trainer course, while also organising a calendar of trips to help him and his Apprentice colleagues gain a better understanding of the wider hospitality industry. As part of the ESF Hospitality Table Cornwall project run by the College, this involves the Victoria Inn linking up with other employers and includes days working with butchers, attending fish markets and spending time with marketing teams to design and produce menus to name a few examples.
Darren was not the only Apprentice from The Victoria Inn to attend the Awards, Level 2 Commis Chef Apprentice Abbie Pope and Level 3 Hospitality Supervisor Apprentice Jennifer Grose assisted with front of house operations to gather more experience of working on large functions.
The Victoria Inn has been in partnership with Truro and Penwith College for six years. Proprietor, Mark Holden said: “Darren is a perfect example of a young person making the most of a long term career path in hospitality and taking advantage of every opportunity an Apprenticeship scheme can offer along the way. Darren has overcome any challenge that has been thrown at him, it has been an absolute privilege to have someone so determined and passionate as part of our team. I’d like to thank Tony Duce and Hannah Dome along with all of the team at the College for their mentoring and support”.
Retail Director of St Austell Brewery, Steve Worrall said: “We work hard to nurture and develop young local talent in all areas of our business, so it makes total sense to include a category that celebrates their achievements at our annual awards with the ‘Apprentice of the Year’ category”.
To celebrate Apprenticeship Week, Truro and Penwith College is holding information events for learners on the 2nd and 9th March, and a special conference event for employers on 4th March. Booking is required, for more information visit www.truro-penwith.ac.uk/events.