Essex Cricket caters for National Apprenticeship Week


A new group of catering and hospitality trainees joined Essex Cricket this week to take their first steps towards a career in the industry.

Starting their ten-week innings in National Apprenticeship Week, the trainees work towards customer service skills and food safety qualifications, while gaining new skills during 100 hours spent working at the Club.

National Apprenticeship Week runs from 6-10 March and celebrates the value of obtaining work-based qualifications and skills. Darrell Fox, Essex Cricket Commercial Manager, explained: “It is very rewarding to give young people a chance to get into employment, and we’ve watched many of our trainees grow their skills and confidence and go on to become valuable members of our catering staff.”

Essex-based employment and skills organisation Seetec helps the Club to recruit the trainees and provides ongoing support and training.

Darrell said: “I’d encourage other employers to look at this method of recruitment. Seetec provides invaluable support, and the trainees who do exceptionally well have the chance to become apprentices for a year.”

Toby McLaren, 23, from Chelmsford, has made great progress since his traineeship and been taken on as a catering apprentice. He explained: “I hadn’t considered catering until I heard about the training, and now I’m definitely interested in seeing how far I can take it. Everyone here is really nice and I get on with so many people, my job role is to make all the customers happy. I’m doing an NVQ and I can see myself trying to make a career in hospitality.”

Samantha Tolhurst, 23, from Hatfield Peverel, completed her traineeship a year ago and has also been taken on by the club. She said: “I’m really enjoying all of it, I work with the players serving their meals, and I want a career in catering.”

Bradley Sissons, 21, from Maldon, wanted to work in hospitality and catering and the traineeship gave him his break into the industry. He has also progressed to an apprenticeship and is working towards his Level 2 Customer Service qualification. Bradley said: “I really enjoy it in the summer when I’m kept really busy and work in lots of different areas. I’ve learned about customer service and how to speak to people, and about rotation of stock and handling cash.”

Seetec tutor and assessor Steve Bond has been supporting Toby, Samantha, and Bradley through their apprenticeships and said: “They have come out of their shells and developed their confidence, social and communication skills, and really started to engage with the staff, players and customers. They are valued members of the team.”

Catering manager Nicola Riggs said: “It really helps me when the season starts because I have a group of people who know their way around and who know what they’re doing. I get a lot of help from Seetec with the recruitment process and their training.”

Scott Marsh, 22, from Chelmsford, has also progressed to employment at the Club, and encourages other young people to start traineeships. “Go full steam ahead, and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it,” he said. “Believe in yourself, you will meet new people and you could end up finding full-time work.”

Nationally 75 per cent of apprenticeship employers report that the young people have helped their business to improve the quality of their product or service.

Seetec Group Managing Director John Baumback, who joined the company as a 16-year-old Youth Training Scheme (YTS) trainee, said: “Young people can make such a difference to the outlook of your business if you believe in them and give them the opportunities to develop. We have the expertise available to help businesses to invest in this talent.”