The scheme was developed by skills specialist Ingeus and launched across the popular Asian food chain's restaurants last year. Chloe, from Watford, is the first learner to complete the academic elements of her Food and Beverage Service qualification and will now go on to a three-month project developing a workbook for other learners following in her footsteps. Her year-long apprenticeship will complete in May, the same month as her wedding to fiancé Rikki.
Chloe, who is one of more than 70 learners on the apprenticeship programme, had worked at the King Street restaurant in Watford for a year when the scheme was launched. "I jumped at the chance to gain new skills and a vocational qualification that will help my career progress," she said. "Although I'd already worked at the restaurant for some time, the apprenticeship made me learn about many new aspects of the business. I'm so glad I pushed myself to do it, and it feels really good to be the first successful learner on the programme. I hope to carry on to the next level of qualification now and work my way up in wagamama."
The level two Diploma in Food and Beverage Service that Chloe has undertaken includes aspects of health and safety, customer care, serving food and drink, food safety, setting up and maintaining customer areas and employment rights and responsibilities. It also develops functional skills like English and maths, personal learning and thinking skills.
Ingeus developed the programme in conjunction with wagamama to ensure it replicated the company's fun and forward-thinking culture. Specialist Ingeus training advisors create individual learning plans with each apprentice and visit them in their workplace to provide training and support. Computer tablets are provided to each learner, loaded with the resources they will need to complete their qualification. Apprenticeships are currently available to all wagamama line chefs and team members, with the hope that the programme will expand to offer further management qualifications in the future.
Ruth Hardman, wagamama learning and business partner, oversees the apprenticeship programme in the South and said: "The wagamama philosophy is all based on kaizen, which means good change. This exciting venture with Ingeus is a perfect example of that, doing things differently and offering our staff the time and resources they need to develop their skills.
"The apprenticeship programme is proving to be hugely popular and we're so proud of Chloe for being the figurehead of its success."
Chloe's tutor, Kevin Scott from Ingeus, couldn't agree more: "Chloe has been an inspiration since she started the apprenticeship programme," he said. "She always submitted her work well ahead of schedule and clearly spent much time researching and utilising the knowledge of her wagamama colleagues.
"Chloe has developed professionally and personally. Her confidence has grown and she epitomises the wagamama brand with her fun, proactive and positive approach to life."