Cooking up resilience in the kitchen
How can training help chefs adapt to changes brought on by the pandemic?
The hospitality industry is up and running again after a challenging lockdown period, but with COVID-19 still impacting our daily lives, kitchens are operating in a very different way.
This includes working with reduced teams and putting processes in place to support employees who are contending with their own challenges, all whilst adapting to new rules in order to maintain a safe distance and working environment. To say that the pandemic has presented chefs with a learning curve is an understatement.
In the face of these new challenges, the already high-pressured kitchen environment could feel a bit more complicated and daunting.
Recent research* from HIT Training and HJUK revealed that training is key to quelling hospitality professionals’ fears around the future of the industry. In fact, those surveyed claimed that ways to tackle worries around the future included:
- Offering training on infection control and safe working (52%)
- Providing training courses on improved hygiene practices (45%)
- Supplying additional support on mental health in the workplace (43%)
To remain resilient in the current climate and in the future, it is paramount that chefs are equipped with the skills to tackle these issues head on. As a result, there has been an increase in demand for online training courses, which hospitality professionals can undertake at home before returning to the workplace – helping them to feel more confident and safer in their new surroundings.
As well as getting used to new regulations and ways of working, many kitchens are operating with smaller teams which can come with its own set of challenges. To help chefs navigate this new environment, ensuring that they’re receiving regular training is key. Training will not only make sure that any skills gaps within the kitchen (due to reduced roles) are covered, but it will also help to build a teams’ confidence, encouraging them to feel more secure in their roles and also have a greater sense of job satisfaction.
With many hospitality businesses under increased pressure at the moment, implementing a training scheme can seem like an impossible task, but it doesn’t need to be. There are many different options available, from apprenticeships to online short courses and mentoring programmes; operators can find the right solution to meet the individual training requirements of their team, helping them to adapt to the changing kitchen environment.
Not only is it important to help chefs navigate the new kitchen set up through training and development, it’s crucial to ensure that team members continue to focus on their career progression, even in these uncertain times. Having a goal to work towards can really help to motivate and inspire teams. The role of a chef is exciting and diverse and there are many different career pathways to consider. To help chefs find the right career pathway for them and provide information on the training routes available to reach individual goals, HIT Training has launched The Complete Guide to Chef Development. From entry-level through to senior culinary chef apprenticeships, as well as academies and short courses, there is an abundance of information for chefs of all stages in their careers.
As the Coronavirus situation continues to change and with that comes new regulations and obstacles for the ever-resilient hospitality industry to overcome, ensuring your team have the right skills is essential. Skills that help teams to adapt, but also to support each other are key in overcoming this challenging period and coming out the other side stronger.
To support chefs, HIT Training has developed a series of courses aimed at helping to build and maintain confidence for those heading back into the kitchen. The aim of the courses, which are free to all HIT’s apprentices or available for a small fee to other hospitality professionals, is to help chefs adapt to the circumstances they’re now working in and come out the other side stronger.
The courses include:
- The Principles of Infection Control and Safe Working: This course gives a solid foundation in how to limit, control and prevent the spread of infection in the workplace.
- Awareness of First Aid for Mental Health: This course provides apprentices with the knowledge to identify suspected mental health conditions, the skills to start a conversation about mental health and be able to signpost a person towards professional help.
- Managing Change and Building Resilience: This course provides apprentices with the necessary understanding to manage change and build resilience in the workplace.
For more information on the short courses, please visit: https://hittraining.co.uk/courses
*Research conducted with 509 hospitality operators, CEOs, HR and recruitment professionals, June 2020.