Ashdown Park apprentice encourages budding chefs to follow in her footsteps

This National Apprenticeship Week (4-8 March 2019), East Sussex chef Alex Loveland is championing the value of apprenticeship schemes for young people looking to begin a career in the kitchen.

Currently working as junior sous chef at Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club, Alex not only successfully completed a three-year Specialised Chefs Scholarship apprenticeship at the hotel, but was named ‘Student of the Year’ by the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts when she graduated last year.

Speaking about the training and support offered throughout her apprenticeship, Alex said: “The best thing about my course and being placed at Ashdown Park has been the experience and independence I’ve gained.

“Under supervision, I have been able to build trust in my abilities with head chef and therefore work my way up to run sections. This has provided me with such a unique insight and chance to learn – something which many chefs my age have never had. I’ve understood the real sense of pressure and organisation required, in addition to skill, to run a successful kitchen – all while continuing to learn myself.”

Ashdown Park Hotel works closely with the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts’ Specialised Chefs Scholarship programme, with chef apprentices working in the kitchen of the hotel’s award-winning Anderida Restaurant. Managed by Bournemouth & Poole College, the programme gives budding chefs first-hand experience at working in a busy kitchen environment alongside some of the UK’s top chefs.

Apprentices taking part in the programme will study on-site at Bournemouth & Poole College at the start of their course, before beginning their placement – which at Ashdown Park Hotel includes staff accommodation on site. The remainder of the course is primarily practical, supported by occasional lectures and learning support from the college.

Ben Booker, general manager at Ashdown Park Hotel commented: “Alex has been a real success story for Ashdown Park’s apprenticeship programme and highlights the quality of learning that our apprentices experience. The whole team, from management to part-time staff, take great pride in providing an encouraging and supportive setting, for apprentices to gain a deep understanding of the hard work that goes into running a hotel.”

People development and the encouragement of young talent are key to Ashdown Park’s ethos. Longer-serving staff play an important role in supporting and leading the newer members of the team, whether through apprenticeship schemes, work experience placements or as new, full-time staff members.

For more information about careers at Ashdown Park Hotel, visit or to find out about the National Apprenticeship Week visit,

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