6th April

College Apprentices step up to the plate at Alderley Edge Hotel…

A fantastic Press Release from Macclesfield College - so good we just had to share...

Catering and hospitality has always been high on the agenda at Macclesfield College.

Now, via Maxim Business Training – its dedicated employer-responsive arm – the College has further enriched its reputation in this dynamic sector, by strengthening its links with one of East Cheshire’s most prestigious, award-winning hotels.

Located in the heart of the region’s most desirable and upmarket village, Alderley Edge Hotel is an independent, family-owned four-star hotel. Long regarded as the jewel in the crown of time honoured North West brewing and catering giant, JW Lees – based in Middleton, North Manchester – Alderley Edge Hotel has recently undergone a £2.5 million complete re-furbishment programme, to create a classic yet contemporary, elegant yet eclectic and welcoming space for its guests to escape, relax and enjoy sumptuous food and drink, complemented by first-rate service and hospitality. As part of the high-level investment into its standards of service, Alderley Edge Hotel – led by its vastly experienced General Manager, John Scott – has teamed up with Macclesfield College and Maxim Business Training to provide four local young learners with a five-star opportunity to get a head start in their chosen careers, by offering them exciting apprenticeship roles, working alongside its highly professional kitchen staff and food & beverage team.

“The Hotel and Macclesfield College have enjoyed a very strong relationship over the years,” confirms John Scott – a man benefiting from over 23 years of experience as a hotelier in a diverse range of roles in establishments across the United Kingdom. “We have four students working with us at the moment in the Hotel,” continues John, “all of whom are doing a wonderful job. The hands-on training they’re receiving from us is not only giving them an extra string to their bows, but also it is helping them to gain a genuine
and invaluable insight into the day-to-day workings of a luxury hotel that’s practically on their doorstep.”

Three of the College’s apprentices at Alderley Edge Hotel – Emma Smith, Grace Bower and Elliot Wilson – are BTEC Events Management students tutored by Katie Aldous, Julie Williams and Liz Stewart. The other – Warren Irwin – is a Level 3 Professional Cookery learner studying at Macclesfield College, under the aegis of Mark Boswell (Head Chef and Catering & Professional Cookery Teacher) and John Parrot (Pastry Chef). Warren is currently working as a Commis Chef at Alderley Edge Hotel , assisting the Hotel’s Head Chef Sean Sutton, himself an alumnus of Macclesfield College.

Following the Hotel’s ethos of nurturing home-grown talent, Sean was appointed from within. He became Head Chef in 2015, after eight years working – just like Warren – as a Commis Chef. “I trained at  Macclesfield College, working some of the time at the Tytherington Club,” recounts Sean. “When I got a job at Alderley Edge Hotel, I knew it had a big reputation as one of the best places in the area for dining, so it was a bit daunting at first. I soon found my feet however,” Sean continues, “it’s a terrific team to work with, and I’m really happy to be in a position where I can pass on my experience to students, like Warren, from my old College.”

Hotel General Manager, John Scott is helping to drive this latest apprenticeships initiative with Macclesfield College. John was invited to the College back in January by its Principal and Chief Executive, Rachel Kay – herself a highly experienced individual in the field of catering and hospitality working, as she did, for the prestigious Principal Hayley Hotel Group prior to entering the education sector in 2006. John duly came to the College to talk to its students about his diverse and successful career, in an industry he clearly loves. Born and bred in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, John entered the world of catering and hospitality at the age of 18 and worked his way up through every department, before reaching management level in 1996, when he was appointed as the Deputy Conference & Events Manager for Marriott Hotels. From there, he moved through the ranks with various high-profile national chains – most notably the Moathouse and Hilton Hotel Groups – before re-locating to the Home Counties in 2002, accepting the role of Conferencing & Banqueting Operations Manager at the Runnymede Hotel in Egham, Surrey. After a year working in a similar capacity at the Sopwell House Hotel in St. Albans, Hertfordshire, John moved back north in 2005 to take up the position of Operations Manager at the MacDonald Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate, North
Yorkshire, moving on to the Queens Hotel in Leeds in 2007 to work in the same job. In 2009, John left Yorkshire, first to take the role of Deputy General Manager at the Best Western Plus Castle Green Hotel in Kendal, Cumbria, before heading to the North West – Wilmslow to be exact – where he reached his current status of General Manager at the Pinewood Hotel – also part of the Best Western Group – before moving
on to the Alderley Edge in September 2017. Who more qualified and well-seasoned then, to talk to the
students at Macclesfield College about a career in catering and hospitality. “I talked to them about the importance of working hard, listening, understanding and having a clear and focused ambition – a future goal,” John recalls. “It proved very beneficial and gave the students a real-life insight into the industry.
“For me, as a hotelier of 23 years,” John continues, “it’s hugely important to give the students a more comprehensive understanding of what working in a hotel is all about. Developing chef academies – which we do alongside the team at JW Lees – and developing front-of-house team members; they’re key to ensuring that the industry knowledge and skills base keep pace with demand. And having that support from Macclesfield College and Maxim Business Training, will add tangible benefit to the regional catering and hospitality industry, going forward.”

All catering and hospitality courses at Macclesfield College share one core ingredient – they all serve up the very highest standards of skills provision and professional application, to driven young learners with an insatiable appetite for excellence in food preparation and presentation. The courses available at Macclesfield College in this dynamic sector all deliver the perfect blend of theory, practical skills and work experience with key strategic partners across the region, such as Alderley Edge Hotel. What’s more, the College boasts its own industry-standard kitchens and state-of-the-art training restaurant – the Silk Room, which are regularly visited by Sean Sutton to coach and mentor the catering students, and add support to a place where his own career journey began, nearly 16 years ago.

“All four students currently working with us here at Alderley Edge Hotel, are very well equipped and prepared from a basic skills perspective,” adds John Scott, “and this is testament to the team in place at Macclesfield College. What we’re trying to do is help to progress their careers and shape their futures within the catering and hospitality industry, which is currently one of the major growth areas of the East Cheshire economy.”

“It is very pleasing to hear that Emma, Grace, Elliot and Warren are all doing such a fantastic job at Alderley Edge Hotel,” concludes Principal and Chief Executive of Macclesfield College, Rachel Kay
(pictured inset right). “Catering and hospitality is an industry that’s very close to my heart, as it’s where my own career began, and I am immensely grateful to John, Sean and their team for their ongoing commitment to our fast-growing apprenticeship programme, and the way in which they’re helping us to nurture talented and ambitious young people, so they can play a full role in ensuring the continued economic stability and success of our region.”

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