Dale Toner

Dale Toner, restaurant manager at Jesmond Dene House

Apprentices prove a recipe for success at Jesmond Dene House

The luxury hotel, Jesmond Dene House, has found that apprenticeships have played a key part in its recruitment strategy and is reaping the rewards of investing in young talent.

The hotel has had apprenticeships in place for trainee chefs for a number of years and recently approached Newcastle College to help with the recruitment for front-of-house roles at the hotel and restaurant.

Scott Davidson, general manager at Jesmond Dene House, says: “Working in a busy hotel in Newcastle, I was finding that a lot of my applicants were students interested in pursuing alternative career paths. I really wanted to build a team who were passionate about hospitality and dedicated to developing a long term career in the sector.”

Dale Toner (pictured), is completing his hospitality apprenticeship after originally starting out as a kitchen assistant. Dale says: “I have worked my way from front-of-house onto floor manager, assistant manager and now restaurant manager. I think the ability to progress while I study has definitely been one of the best parts of my apprenticeship.”

Scott is glowing on Dale’s time at Jesmond Dene House: “He’s become an incredible asset to the company and has progressed from a kitchen assistant to restaurant manager. We’re so proud of how far he’s come and the fact that we’ve been able to support him to achieve his ambitions along the way. He’s recently won the Shooting Star award at the North East Hotel Association Awards and was runner up in Trainee of the Year at the Newcastle Business Awards”.

Dale has been supported by his manager and fellow team members at the hotel. He adds: “We’re like a big family here at Jesmond Dene House and I really feel like I’m part of a team. We all help each other out and have the same goals. I was quite shy when I started out, but I’m really passionate about hospitality so I just got my head down, as I wanted to get the most out of the experience.”

Scott believes the reason that apprenticeships have been a success for the hotel is that they’ve been able to find people who want to work in the industry and have a passion for the job. He adds: “We have three apprentices in front-of-house roles now and they’re positive, hardworking and excellent at what they do. The young people who join us don’t necessarily need any practical skills to begin with as we can teach that. What’s most important is that they’ve got ambition and a positive attitude.”