Dale Toner - Hospitality Apprentice
Employer: Jesmond Dene House
Position: Assistant Restaurant Manager
Apprenticeship: Intermediate Hospitality and Food
What were your career goals when you started out?
When I started the apprenticeship process I was looking to find a career in the hospitality trade. I wanted to work for a good restaurant or hotel, working front of house.
How did you hear about the apprenticeship scheme?
I started my apprenticeship after working on another project with The Prince’s Trust. They recommended an apprenticeship at Newcastle College as a good way to earn money and get qualified at the same time. I saw a hospitality apprenticeship on the Newcastle College website and then made an application. I then had an interview and got the job three days later!
How have you progressed within the Apprenticeship?
I started off working as a kitchen assistant at Jesmond Dene House and then worked my way to front of house onto floor manager, and then assistant restaurant manager. I think the ability to progress while I study has definitely been one of the best parts of my apprenticeship.
What’s your place of work like?
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. It’s a really nice place to work.
How did you feel when you first started?
My apprenticeship really helped me come out of my shell. There’s a lot to get used to. I was quite shy when I started out, but I’m really passionate about hospitality so I just got my head down and worked. I wanted to get the most of the experience.
Have you gained any new skills?
In terms of professional skills, I’ve learnt so much. But one of the key attributes I’ve gained is an increase in confidence. When I started out I was quite shy, but by learning through work, I’ve had experience working with people every day and have really built up my confidence.
Can you tell us about your highlights?
One of the best parts is how supportive my team and tutors have been. They nominated me for Apprentice of the Year in the 2016 Newcastle Business Awards, where I was a runner up. And also for the Shooting Star award at the 2016 North East Hotel Association Awards – which I won!
The first person I told was my mam and she was over the moon. I took her along to both ceremonies with me and she was beaming with pride. It was an amazing thing to be able to share with her.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
My favourite part of the job is delivering the dinner service. I love a busy night in the restaurant, there’s a real buzz about the place and you get satisfaction knowing you’ve delivered to a high standard.
Do you have any advice for students considering an apprenticeship?
I think it’s a really good option if you’re career driven so definitely consider it. The first six months will be the hardest, especially when you’re adjusting from a school environment, but if you work hard you’ll reap the rewards.