Aaron Oreschnick

Aaron Oreschnick, a degree apprentice at Pizza Hut

Degree apprentices get a slice of the action

Pizza Hut's first cohort of degree apprentices give us an insight into just how beneficial the programmes are.

The first candidates of Pizza Hut Restaurants’ ground-breaking degree level apprenticeship programme are forging ahead with their career ambitions after successfully completing their first year on the course.

Emily Bell, James Mann, Holly Humphrey, Aaron Oreschnick and Anchit Mahajan have mastered skills in leadership and business whilst completing on the job training with Pizza Hut Restaurants.

Now moving into their second year, the group will delve deeper into the world of hospitality and business by completing modules in sales and marketing, operations and technology management and customer and stakeholder relations.

The group will also complete a second negotiated work-based project where they will be required to evaluate business scenarios and challenges from their own role.

The four-year degree level apprenticeship, which is a first for the hospitality industry, is delivered in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University and offers people an opportunity to study for a BA (Hons) business management degree whilst receiving on the job training at their local Pizza Hut.

Successful apprentices will also receive a Chartered Management Institute (CMI) Diploma in leadership and management and full CMI Chartered Manager status.

Kathryn Austin, HR and marketing director at Pizza Hut Restaurants, said: “I’m really thrilled to see our first degree level apprentices successfully complete year one. All of them have worked really hard this year and we’ve really seen them develop and grow.

“We’re very proud to offer this course, it is unique in our industry and demonstrates the commitment we have made to grow and develop our people.

“Our people are our greatest asset and we want to equip them with the skills they need to thrive in the future. The traditional university route isn’t for everyone, whether that due to the financial commitment or the way they want to study. 

“Through our degree level apprenticeship, we offer people the opportunity to mix academic and practical modules, providing not just a fantastic skills base in the hospitality industry but also skills for life.

“Apprenticeship programmes are hugely important for the hospitality industry helping to provide committed and enthusiastic employees who are also great leaders for the future.

“The industry is the fourth largest employer in the country, which means we have a responsibility to help grow and develop the next generation and dispel the myth that an apprenticeship is a secondary choice.”

James Mann, 19, who works as a shift manager at the Chester Retail Park Pizza Hut, said: “It’s been great to learn about the wider world of hospitality and how the business operates.

“Earlier this year, I was signed off as a Shift Manager, which was an enormous achievement for me. I also couldn’t believe it when I got a 2:1 for my negotiated business project. I can’t wait to continue to develop my leadership and management skills next year.

“The degree apprenticeship is a fantastic opportunity to progress within the hospitality industry. The academic learning and practical experience link perfectly together, allowing us to test academic theories by putting them into practise.”

Anchit Mahajan, 24, who works as an assistant manager at the London Piccadilly Hut, added: “I’m really proud to have passed the first year. Everything I have learnt as part of the apprenticeship has helped me to become a better manager and leader.

“At the beginning of the course it was sometimes challenging to balance my studies with work but with the support of my mentor I was able to overcome this by becoming more organised and setting personal goals.

“What I like about the degree programme is that you don’t have to hunt for a job once you’ve finished as you’ve already developed your career during the on the job training.

“I am currently an assistant manager but I’m training to be a deputy manager with a long-term goal to join the operations team.

“Next year, I’m looking forward to completing a new work based project and learning more about the different ways we can interact with customers.”

Aaron Oreschnick, who works as a deputy manager at Pizza Hut Restaurants Trafford Centre Hut, said: “Joining the degree level apprenticeship was my third time lucky.

"I’d enrolled at university twice before but was forced to drop out due to illness. It has enabled me to get the degree I’ve always wanted at the same time as developing my career.

“The best thing about the apprenticeship is that you are able to apply everything you have learned at university to real life situations in the workplace.

"Over the past year, I’ve studied three key modules; dynamic business contacts, negotiated business projects and managing and leading people.

“It’s been great to get a better understanding of how the wider business operates and to become really immersed in the management side. The university deliberately incorporated elements of our existing training and development programmes so it’s been great to see how they complement each other.

“I’ve always wanted to run and own my own restaurant and the graduate apprenticeship allows me to get one step closer to that dream. I’m currently on the development pathway to become a restaurant manager which is really exciting.

“In fact, the work we completed as part of the dynamic business contacts module really helped me to prepare for the interview and assessment centre.

“I’ve still got three years left on the course but I’ve already noticed how much it’s helped me to develop both as a manager and a person and I can’t wait to see what the future will hold.”