Industry’s New Apprenticeship Standard Welcomes Its First Cohort

The first ever Catering Equipment Service and Installation Apprenticeship, created by ceda Members, has welcomed its first cohort of apprentices.     

On this most momentous of occasions, fifteen pioneering members of the industry, from: Aggora, APS Catering, Hatherleys, Gratte Brothers, C&C Catering Engineers, Archer Catering Systems, UpNorth Group, NWCE and HB Catering & Refrigeration arrived in Stockport, eager to begin their induction sessions and training.   

Apprentice Chris Williams, of HB Catering & Refrigeration, said “I’ve been at the company for two years. When I heard that the ceda apprenticeship was beginning, I decided it was time for me to step into a frontline role and jumped at the opportunity. The course will provide me with all of the qualifications I’ll need for a fulfilling and successful career.”

Discussing what he thought the apprenticeship would bring to the wider industry, he said, “Quite a few of my colleagues are starting to retire, so there’s a clear need to bring new talent in. The apprenticeship will ensure that the younger generation who replace them are well equipped to work in a challenging area and provide the highest levels of service to their customers.”

Damion Russell, who has been with Gratte Brothers for four years, added “I’m really looking forward to completing the apprenticeship programme. The qualifications I’ll gain will provide me with the expert knowledge I need to carry out my job safely and to uphold the highest industry standards for my company. They’ll also give me confidence and independence, so I can carry out jobs on my own.” 

The funded apprenticeship programme is being provided by registered provider, ECTA. Whilst the organisation has provided both domestic and commercial gas and electric qualifications in collaboration with the ESFA (Education and Skills Funding Agency) for a number of years, this is the first time they have worked with ceda. 

ceda Members and Partners have actually assisted with the fitting-out of the kitchen at ECTA in which apprentices will receive their training. 

ceda would therefore like to extend their sincerest thanks to Falcon Foodservice Equipment for their donation of a six burner range and a gas fryer, Inox Fabrication for an extraction canopy system, Rational for a combination oven, NWCE for a salamander grill and chargrill, and S&S Northern and Archer Catering Systems (ACS) for an interlock system.  

ACS also installed the kitchen. Director Nick Archer, who was instrumental in facilitating the collaboration of the various companies, which in any other circumstance would be fierce competitors, commented “It is important for our industry to have its own dedicated apprenticeship scheme that can bring together engineers from different companies, to achieve training and qualifications that are actually relevant to what we do within our industry. The fact that so many companies have come together to provide time and knowledge on the initial trailblazing group and providing equipment into the new kitchen at ECTA is testament to what we can achieve when we all come together. I would like to reserve my personal thanks for Adam and Peter from ceda for providing the platform to make this happen and Kirstin for her work with the initial trailblazing group and subsequent meetings.

Adam Mason, ceda Director General, who has been equally impressed by the way the various companies have come together for the benefit of the industry, enthused, “From start to finish this entire apprenticeship project has been about Members and Partners working together for the benefit and future of our industry. We are delighted to have facilitated and driven the development of the standard and equally delighted to now present it to the industry. ”

The apprentices will now spend thirty months receiving the highest quality training and education on a block release basis, meaning they only need to attend the training centre for one week every eight weeks. 

They will cover knowledge and skills including ACS accreditations, Basic Plumbing, Electrical Competence, Health and Safety issues, Relevant Regulations and fault finding procedures, as well as customer care and communication. 

ceda are now encouraging other companies who wish to become involved to contact Peter Kay, ceda Technical Support Adviser, at They do not have to be ceda Members to take part. 

Currently the standard is only available in England, however funding is still available for companies in the devolved nations if their apprentice works at least 50% of their time in England.   

And the final word goes to Peter, whose hard work and determination was imperative to the delivery of this groundbreaking apprenticeship; “Today is a very important day for ceda as it sees the culmination of 15 years of work to establish an apprenticeship.  When I joined ceda 15 years ago, members told me that one of my main priorities was to organise an apprenticeship as there was a shortage of good quality service engineers. At that time, apprenticeships had to result in a formal qualification and even though Gas ACS accreditations are a legal requirement, they are not recognised as a formal qualification and therefore the apprenticeship would have to include an electrical qualification.  We looked at all the available electrical qualifications but none was suitable for a service engineer. We even investigated establishing our own qualification, however, the cost was prohibitive so it was not until 2015, when the Government introduced Apprenticeship Standards, that we were able to create a Trailblazer Group of ceda members who worked with an advisor from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education to develop the standard which was approved last summer. ECTA have been extremely helpful in working with us to deliver the apprenticeship for the allocated funding and seeing these young people here today is the fulfilment of that task that we started 15 years ago.”