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What it’s like to be an apprentice

The Goodwood Estate offers a range of apprenticeships, from food to finance. Here, some of the apprentices working on-site share their stories.

Apprenticeships are back in vogue with the Government aiming to increase the number of UK apprentices to three million in 2020.

Today, there is a growing recognition that passing on skills and mentoring young people is good for both society and for industry.

Goodwood is at the forefront of supporting apprenticeships with 13 trainees from chefs to accountants to greenkeepers, all learning their trade the traditional way across the Chichester estate.

Being a kitchen apprentice

The Culinary Academy provides on the job chef training for young people to work and train in Goodwood’s diverse kitchens. The programme runs over a two-year period and is overseen by Michelin-star executive head chef Darron Bunn.

Read more: From apprentice to award-winning chef

11 jobs which don’t require a degree

Upon qualification, graduates are offered a position within one of the restaurants across the estate.

“Our academy provides chef apprentices with two years of estate-wide kitchen and farm experiences as well as gaining industry-recognised chef qualifications,” explained Darron.

“You don’t get that kind of hands-on experience with any other type of catering courses. At Goodwood, our apprentices become valuable members of our 50-strong team and are vitally important to our future success. When they graduate after two years they are proper industry-ready chefs.”

In-depth knowledge

Apprentices spend two months working with Goodwood’s farming, dairy, cheese-making and butchery operations before they ever set foot in the kitchen.

With this in-depth knowledge, they will be better prepared to cook for customers at the estate’s restaurants which celebrate Goodwood’s organic produce. The restaurants include the fully-sustainable Farmer, Butcher, Chef, The Bar & Grill, The Kennels private members club as well as the events held at Goodwood House.

Apprentice chef

Ellie Hawley, 18, is one of Goodwood’s apprentice chefs and started the academy in July 2019.

Ellie is currently based at The Bar & Grill in the Goodwood hotel and has been moving around the estate seeing how all the different kitchens work. She spent her first two months working on the farm with the animals and learning how the meat is prepared before it arrives in the kitchens.

“I have loved working on the farm and I have enjoyed working in the different kitchens learning new techniques and working with different people,” Ellie said.

“It’s a great step, especially coming straight from college. It is so evidence-based and allowed me to work out what sort of thing I might like to do in the future. It has been a quick but long six months that has taught me lots but there is still lots to be uncovered.”

Goodwood Culinary Academy Programme

Year one

A rotating programme of on-site six-week placements in the following business areas at Goodwood:

Year two

The second-year includes:

  • More Home Farm & butchery experience
  • Supplier & trade show visits
  • Masterclasses, as well as learning about dish costing menu planning, food safety
  • Cooking demos
  • More placement experience in our kitchens
  • Planning and delivering a special dinner at the end of the year
  • Getting you industry ready

Apprentice in finance

Bethany Picture: Alex Benwell

Bethany Newton is an apprentice finance assistant at Goodwood, she was a qualified pharmacy dispenser before she joined and is now studying for her Level 3 qualification.

“Being an apprentice is a great way to start a career and achieve the qualifications required for the job,” said Bethany.

“I have discovered new ways to develop a deeper understanding and broaden your knowledge and at the same time I have been able to get involved with some of the other experiences Goodwood has to offer like the tree planting.”

What is Goodwood?

Goodwood is a sporting estate set in 12,000 acres of West Sussex countryside. Owned by the Dukes of Richmond since 1697, it is has become famous for its motorsport and horse-racing events.

But there is more to Goodwood than horses and cars: it includes an organic farm, four restaurants, two 18-hole golf courses, a private members club, an aerodrome, a health club, a four-star hotel and a 10-bedroom luxury retreat.

To find out more, visit:

Charlotte Harding
Charlotte Harding
Charlotte is a journalist and the co-founder of The Women's Work Collective.


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