A training scheme kick-started in Keighley with a lottery grant is only the beginning of an ambitious planned apprenticeship network.
Confianza recently received £9,700 to provide accredited catering, hospitality and retail training at Keighley Civic Centre.
Trainees work in the North Street centre’s kitchens, cafe and bar, as well as providing catering for private functions and conferences.
The first four trainees, a mix of long-term unemployed and young people, are taking NVQ level 2 and 3 courses.
The hope is that after about six months they will move on to full apprenticeships in their chosen area.
Former Oakbank School student Wayne Hunnebell, 17, joined the programme after an unfruitful year in college.
He has already served in the cafe and bar, and hopes to develop a career in catering.
Gavin Farrar, who runs Keighley-based training organisation Confianza with Amie Appleyard, said the NVQ training was only the start.
Confianza plans to set up a scheme where local businesses, such as pubs, restaurants and cafes, will share apprentices. Mr Farrar said many small businesses could not provide enough work for apprentices to qualify for Government funding.
He added: “They have to do 30 hours’ paid work as an apprentice each week on top of any college training.”
Mr Farrar said there was a lot of scope for catering and hospitality apprentices in the North, where take-up of schemes was not as high as in the south.
He added approval of the lottery money came at the right time for Confianza, which had just landed the contract to run the cafe at the civic centre and taken out a Keyfund loan – available to social enterprises – to develop the service.
Confianza plans to provide 25 placements of 12 weeks each during a six-month period. It hopes to use the civic centre’s other facilities, including its Police Museum, to provide training and work experience in conferencing, museum management and reception work.