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Alfie Vickers

Apprentice chef Alfie Vickers has had plenty to celebrate recently after being awarded a distinction for his Level 2 Commis Chef Apprenticeship. The young chef, who is employed at The Bridge in Mount Batten, demonstrated a strong set of skills during his end-point assessment that saw him awarded the top mark. 

Alfie admits he never planned to be a chef, but after spending the past few years working in a kitchen, he says he couldn’t be happier with how things have turned out. 

Alfie said: “I originally started working in a kitchen after my stepdad, who is a chef, suggested I get a job as a kitchen porter to earn a bit of money. While it wasn’t what I had intended to do with my life, I quickly discovered the level of personal satisfaction that comes from working in this environment. I also love the camaraderie in the kitchen – it is such a great team mentality and you all look out for one another.”

After showing promise in the kitchen, Alfie’s employer, Lesley Ann Brunning, approached him about doing an Apprenticeship, which he started in September 2018. Alfie said: “I saw this as a great opportunity to gain new skills and qualifications, all while earning enough money to pay rent and bills. I also liked the prospect of being able to immediately put into practice all of the skills I was learning at the College in my daily work. I feel I learnt more doing it this way.”

Offering a varied menu that is updated frequently, Alfie has had many opportunities to develop a wide variety of skills in the kitchen, but he particularly enjoys working with meat and fish. He said his sessions at the College were particularly useful as it gave him the chance to try things he didn’t necessarily get to do at The Bridge.

Alfie added: “I have had a tremendous amount of support from everyone, both at work and at the College. Lesley has been great, and I have learnt a lot from the kitchen staff at The Bridge. They have a really good relationship with my College lecturers – someone from the College would visit each month and then we would all sit down to discuss what I had improved on and where I could develop further – it has made me much more reflective.”

Alfie is now hoping to progress to the Level 3 Chefs de Partie Apprenticeship, After that, he hopes to travel and find work in different kitchens around the world. 

Alfie’s employer, Lesley Ann Brunning, said: “Whilst we had every expectation that Alfie would do well in his Apprenticeship, the achieving of a distinction was fabulous news for not only Alfie, but his work team and the College, all of whom have played a part in achieving this fabulous result. Alfie has grown in confidence during his time completing his Apprenticeship and his culinary skills have gone from strength-to-strength and once the current ‘elephant in hospitality’, COVID-19, allows some form of normality to resume, we all at The Bridge look forward to putting Alfie’s distinction to the test!”

When asked what he would say to others about this Apprenticeship, Alfie said: “Do it – there is no better way, in my opinion. I got to learn so much more through this combination of College and being able to work. It is also a great way to get your foot in the door and meet people in the industry.”