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Apprentice Case Study - Emma

Trainee chef Emma Quarmby has certainly been chucked in at the deep end since starting an apprenticeship at Missenden Abbey Conference Centre

Emma Quarmby, Apprentice Chef at Missenden Abbey


Emma, 18, has an 18-month contract at Missenden Abbey Conference Centre as a trainee chef, where she is studying one day a week towards an Apprentice Catering qualification at Aylesbury College. Emma started at Missenden Abbey working towards a Level 2 apprenticeship and has since gone on to Level 3 which will finish in June 2014.

Since starting at Missenden Abbey, Emma has had the opportunity to do everything from cutting up Monkfish and salmon to 'plating up' dishes to serve to customers.

She said she was enjoying the responsibility of serving food for customers and learning new skills.

Emma said: “So far my apprenticeship has helped me gain experience working with qualified and experienced chefs in a fast environment, getting to learn from them in a hands-on fashion. Not only have my cooking skills improved, but I have learned valuable skills that are vital for a chef to know, such as dietary requirements and hygiene.

“The apprenticeship is setting me up for my future. I would love a job baking specialist cakes or perhaps to run a bakery or patisserie.

“I would advise young people considering doing an apprenticeship at Aylesbury College to go for it! They are really supportive with helpful tutors that help set you up for the real world giving you the experience you need so that there are no surprises when it comes to full-time employment.”

Emma previously gained a Level 1 Introduction into Professional Cookery (VRQ) at Aylesbury College.

During her time at Missenden Abbey she has also met Royalty in the shape of The Earl of Wessex when His Royal Highness chaired the annual meeting of The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award Foundation's International Council at the venue.

The Royal visitor was chairing the two-day governance meeting at the conference centre when he took time out of his busy schedule to meet with young apprentices working at the Abbey.

Philip Child, Head Chef at Missenden Abbey Conference Centre, said he had been impressed with Emma’s work since she started her apprenticeship.

He said: “Since Emma Quarmby has joined our team she has proven to be enthusiastic and a great asset to the team, who is willing to learn.

“We are all looking forward to continuing to work with Emma and other apprentices in the near future.”

Annette Gimbert, People Engagement Director at Bucks New University, said the apprenticeships scheme was a good opportunity to tie up on-the-job experience at Missenden Abbey Conference Centre with a qualification from Aylesbury College.

She said: “Apprentices have the training opportunities and Missenden Abbey benefits from the work opportunities.

“We give people skills and training and there is always the chance that if vacancies arise, apprentices could be in line to apply once they finish their training.

It is fantastic for Missenden Abbey Conference Centre, and Bucks New University, to be able to benefit these young people by developing and challenging them in the workplace.”