Manchester Airport’s SSP catering apprenticeship to offer forty places

This week more than 25 education professionals across Cheshire and Greater Manchester came to the UK’s third largest airport, to learn about a new apprenticeship programme which will offer 40 roles at SSP, a leading operator of food and beverage brands in travel locations.

The catering and hospitality apprentice programme has been undertaken working in collaboration with the onsite Airport Academy, which is run in conjunction with Stockport College. The tour comes before the start of National Apprenticeship Week, which is on 5th – 9th March.

The education professionals attended a full day workshop at the airport to learn all about the programme, so they could go back to their colleges and institutions to tailor their courses to further help their students develop the skills needed for the roles available.

The workshop day included an overview of the Airport Academy, an introduction into SSP, a tour of Terminal Two to see several of SSP’s outlets, such as The Cabin, Spinning Jenny and Upper Crust and receive information on the skills, qualifications and qualities needed to excel on the apprenticeship scheme.

Education professionals who attended came from Warrington and Vale Royal College, Cheshire College, Tameside College, the Manchester College, Cheshire Skills and Growth Company, and Trafford College to name a few.

The types of roles on offer include team members, bar staff, waiting staff, baristas, chefs and production staff, and through the apprenticeship students can gain Level 3 & Level 4 qualifications, working towards Team leader/Deputy Manager & General Manager roles.

Mike Kane, MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East said: “The continued growth of the airport and the enterprise zone is vital for the region’s growth, and employment, but if we don’t connect these opportunities to young people and residents in the region then we will be missing a huge opportunity.”

“It’s great to see the airport taking a lead and working with its partners to ensure the benefits of having such an engine of growth in Greater Manchester are felt by local communities.”

Martin Walder, Head of Learning & Development at SSP, said: “We are delighted to be working alongside Manchester Airport to deliver this initiative, which will help education providers across the North West get access to the latest roles available.

“Not only can they find out about the apprenticeship scheme, they can find out exactly what we want as an employer and gain a glimpse into what we offer employees. This in turn makes it much easier for them to sell the opportunity to their students. We look forward to rolling out this scheme wider to ensure other colleges and institutions can gain access.”

Nik Walker, Director of Corporate Development at Stockport and Trafford College, said: “What a great initiative from Manchester Airport and SSP. Interactive days like these are vital for education providers to understand the skills required of the employer, in order to ensure the best-fit in terms of impact and effectiveness in the workplace for when learners go on to apprenticeships and the start of their careers – this is yet another fantastic example of how Manchester Airport is demonstrating its commitment to developing skills in the region.”

Also in attendance was Andy Pickles, CEO of U-Explore who gave a demonstration of Start. It is a free careers guidance platform used in over 2,700 UK secondary schools and colleges with more than 250,000 registered 11-18-year olds and 5,500 teachers.

Through Start, employers can reach the student market early, promoting their brand and apprenticeship opportunities by sharing relevant content to support the student journey through education and in to employment.

The tour also consisted of a virtual reality look at the airport’s £1bn transformation programme, which is set to grow Terminal Two by more than 140%, creating a world class super terminal.

SSP is a leading operator of food and beverage concessions in travel locations, operating restaurants, bars, cafés, food courts, lounges and convenience stores in airports, train stations, motorway service stations and other leisure locations. With over 50 years of experience, the company employs 35,000 colleagues globally, serving approximately a million customers every day. SSP operates more than 2,500 units in over 30 countries around the world.

At Manchester Airport, SSP employs in excess of 500 colleagues and own units including Spinning Jenny, Cabin Bar, Upper Crust, Burger King, Pasty Shop, Mi Casa and Starbucks.

The Airport Academy aims to help unemployed people to get jobs in the travel trade, with training provided by tutors from Stockport College designed around skills needed for roles within an airport environment. One of the first projects of its kind in the world, the initiative has helped 1,200 out-of-work people in Greater Manchester into employment since it was launched by Manchester Airport in 2012.