ceda members take the first step to developing an apprenticeship for catering equipment service engineers

The commercial catering market has increased steadily over recent years with Out Of Home eating increasing dramatically over the last 30 years. In 1989 only 10% of consumers dined out at least once a month whereas in 2015 this had risen to 67% (Source – Mintel PWC consumer survey). In this time catering equipment has become more sophisticated and menu specific and therefore it requires more complex maintenance and breakdowns are much more disruptive to a business so response times have had to improve dramatically from 2 or 3 days during week days to same day or within 24 hours – 7 days a week. Catering operators, who historically only saw an engineer if a piece of equipment occasionally broke down, now recognise the need for regular preventive maintenance. Alongside this, many regulations have become much tighter (Gas Regulations, Health and Safety Regulations etc.)

Thirty years ago a catering equipment maintenance technician required very few skills or accreditations. A basic knowledge of gas, electricity and plumbing were adequate to cope with relatively simple technology.

A combination of all these factors has led to a demand for more technicians with greater knowledge and skill sets than in the past and a survey carried out by ceda amongst its members in 2016 showed that over 75% were currently looking to recruit engineers either to replace retiring/leaving personnel or to cope with the increased demand.

ceda recognised the problem several years ago and sought to create an apprenticeship for service engineers. In 2002 one was established at Salisbury College, however, it was short lived due to the regional nature of funding at that time. Since then the basis of apprenticeships has changed from being led by educational/training providers and based on formal qualifications to now being led by employers to ensure that apprentices learn the knowledge and skills to meet their requirements.

ceda has been instrumental in creating a Trailblazer Group of 11 members to develop an apprenticeship standard for a Catering Equipment Technician. The group had its first meeting on the 30th August and with the help of an advisor from the Institute of Apprenticeships produced a draft proposal which is 95% complete and will be completed in time to be submitted by the deadline of 26th September.

If any other ceda members would like to become part of the trailblazer group they should initially contact Peter Kay peterkay@ceda.co.uk

When we submit our proposal to develop a standard, we need to upload two advertisements where companies are looking to recruit engineers. Could members also to send Peter Kay copies of any recent adverts that they have placed?