Catering Apprentices Rianne Mathers, Niall Conlon and Stephen Williamson are getting the cutting edge skills to become qualified chefs in the catering industry with Tyne Metropolitan College.

The apprentices, who are cooking up new careers with local businesses, fully endorse that an apprenticeship is a great way to gain hands on skills and obtain a recognised, high quality qualification at the same time.

Rianne Mathers; who is on an apprenticeship with café at the Riverside Live said: “My apprenticeship has given me the chance to learn a lot of new skills and has shown me a whole new side of catering and cooking whilst helping me to exceed in areas that I would have never dreamed of achieving. I feel ready for work because having an apprenticeship prepares you by equipping you with the skills and experience you need to succeed in the working environment.  What I enjoy most about cooking and catering is that you learn something new every day - your skills are put to the test whilst under pressure and a busy working environment. I enjoy working with a range of different ingredients to create a dish.

The apprentices have even had the opportunity to participate and compete in a wide range of competitions such as NECTA – a renowned competition for creative cuisine, Rianne won gold at the prestigious competition.

Rianne added: “When I won gold at NECTA I was in complete shock, I never thought I would have had the chance of winning. I was confident when it came to preparing my dish and didn't at all let nerves get the better of me - winning the gold nectar is proof to me that I am capable of doing anything.”

Catering Apprentice with ST Oswald’s Hospice, Donna Senior also won at NECTA impressing judges with a dessert dish.

Niall Conlon, who is currently on an apprenticeship with the coastal company TyneMouth Surf Café, said:  "You get a real sense of pride creating a dish, and there is no better feeling than someone saying 'that is the best thing I have ever eaten’. If you are passionate about food this apprenticeship can take you places and open doors - that is why I would really recommend apprenticeships with TyneMet College.”

Catering apprentices will spend one day a week in TyneMet College building their key skill sets in the College’s industry standard kitchens, and the rest of the week on a placement in a professional kitchen in their place of employment.

Stephen Williamson, who is undertaking an apprenticeship with prestigious Jesmond Dene House, said: "The apprenticeship is fantastic for people who like being on the job and learning as they work. I used to work in the care industry but I wanted a change of career - I wasn’t much of a cook before I started but I had passion for it. You have to be willing to learn and work in a very busy, demanding kitchen that demands nothing but the best – it’s a brilliant experience.”

Stephen added; “The great thing about my apprenticeship is that my on the job experience is boosted by learning all of the catering theory I need to know - such as techniques and undertaken assessments. We learn a range of skills such as how to prepare fish and meat and how to make stocks and sauces - all the basics skills you need to start off. There’s also a lot of French terminology in cooking and you learn that at college too.”

The apprentices have even had the opportunity to participate and compete in a wide range of competitions such as NECTA – a renowned competition for creative cuisine.

The College works with hundreds of small and large organisations to deliver cost effective training solutions across Newcastle, the North East and the UK with an extensive range of short and long courses. All of these training courses can be adapted to meet the specific needs of a particular group or department within the business, or to focus upon a specific issue in order to reach operational objectives by linking training directly to the company's strategy.

Business Development Manager at Tyne Metropolitan College, Pat Blyth, said: “The benefits of becoming an apprentice are wide ranging. Apprentices have the opportunity to gain a recognised qualification and develop professional skills, while earning a salary at well-known companies with a great reputation – it’s an excellent route to employment.”

Rianne Mathers added: “I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship to anyone who is looking at doing catering and cooking but also for any other subject they may want to do. Having an apprenticeship gives you that opportunity to learn, gain and also receive a wage at the end of the month - an apprenticeship gives you that experience and skills you need before walking into a job.”

If you’re a company and interested to find out how TyneMet apprenticeships could benefit your business, call 0191 229 5179 or email