Nine teenagers from Cumbria and Lancashire have stepped onto the first rung of their career ladder in the hospitality sector, thanks to a hotel group’s unique training initiative.

English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues has recruited the cohort to train as commis chefs as part of its ‘Culinary Academy’, which was set up in 2017.

The two year apprenticeship, delivered in partnership with multi-award winning local chef Steven Doherty and Kendal College, trains the youngsters to become commis chefs whilst under the employment of the hotel group.

The students, all aged 16-17, will be deployed to train and work at three of the group’s renowned venues across the Lake District and North Lancashire.

Former Ulverston High School pupils Niamh Kelly, Aidan Fisher, Ethan Cole, Alfie Danson, and Jamie Butterworth will all take up posts at Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa, the Lake District’s first luxury resort.

Archie Brown from Endmoor and Matthew Shaw from Barrow will undertake their apprenticeships at Waterhead Hotel, whilst Jordan Michie from Heysham and Simon Craven from Silverdale join the culinary team at the art-deco Midland Hotel, Morecambe.

“I’m really excited to start my career training to be a chef and to be part of this group of apprentices,” enthused Niamh Kelly.  “I’m sure it will be a challenging two year apprenticeship but it will give us all the skills we need to make it.  It’s great to be able to earn and learn at the same time and get first-hand experience of how a professional hotel kitchen works.”

Steven Doherty adds: “This is the second annual intake of students for the English Lakes Culinary Academy after a hugely enjoyable and productive inaugural year in 2017.  It’s a great way to give young trainees the grounding they need within the industry.

The Culinary Academy is fully accredited to deliver the commis chef apprenticeship standard approved by the Government. The initiative involves working under the watchful eye of the hotel group’s own head chefs at award-winning venues, with one day per week dedicated to offsite training with Mr Doherty.

English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues chairman and managing director Simon Berry says:  “There aren’t many hotel or restaurant businesses in Cumbria or the North West which have recruited nine new chef apprentices at any one time.”

For further information about English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues and its ‘Culinary Academy’, email Val Still at or visit and complete the form at the bottom of the page.