GEORGIA Sellick of the Anchor Inn, Hillfarrance, really is a testament to the value of young people gaining experience in the workplace through part-time jobs.

What started out as a casual summer job, has turned into a flourishing career in Somerset’s thriving hospitality industry.

Georgia was just 17 when she applied to the Anchor for a summer job back in 2018.

She said: "I started as a pot wash, but was really keen to learn how to do more kitchen prep, as it seemed more interesting than doing the dishes.”

Laura, owner at the Anchor said: “Georgia was very quickly nicknamed ‘Hero’ by her teammates, as she was always first to come to the rescue when extra hands were needed on a busy shift and were so keen to learn extra skills to be as helpful as possible.”

Georgia was just finishing her first year at college doing an art course but had realised it was not a career path she wanted to pursue.

Laura added: "Due to her enthusiasm in the kitchen, we floated the idea of a Level 2 Commis Chef Apprenticeship with her and she was really keen."

Georgia excelled in her apprenticeship and made it to the finals, coming runner up in the Apprentice of the Year Competition 2020 at Bridgwater & Taunton College.

The event took place just days before the first lockdown.

Somerset County Gazette: Left to right are Laura Magee, owner, Sophie Willis, front of house and supervisor, Tamsyn Thomas, assistant general managerLeft to right are Laura Magee, owner, Sophie Willis, front of house and supervisor, Tamsyn Thomas, assistant general manager

She then completed her Level 2 Apprenticeship and moved on to her Level 3 Chef De Partie Apprenticeship, all during lockdown.

Now just weeks away from completing her apprenticeship she has not only been promoted to Junior Sous Chef at the Anchor Inn but, she has also just been awarded the Rising Star Award at this year's Bridgwater & Taunton College Apprenticeship Awards.

Laura also said: "We are so proud to have been on this journey with Georgia throughout her apprenticeships. She has excelled at every opportunity.

"Thriving in the hospitality industry can be tough, never more so than in the past two years. Georgia's achievements are a real boost to the team, who support her wholeheartedly to grow and achieve in her role".

The Anchor has encouraged other team members to take on apprenticeships, with fellow teammate Sophie Willis having recently completed her Level 3 Front of House Supervisor Apprenticeship with distinctions across the board.

Post pandemic there has been a worrying staff shortage across all areas on the hospitality industry.

Laura Magee, owner at the Anchor said: “The staff shortages the industry is facing are a real problem across all areas. We are really lucky that pre-pandemic we had such a strong and tight team which meant we have really pulled together through everything.

“As the summer approaches, every hospitality venue needs to build up staffing levels in order to meet demand.

“Apprenticeships are a great way to bring young people into the team and train them with the specific skill set needed for your business.

She added: “I am also a great believer that young people gaining work experience sets them up for future employment and there’s no better industry than hospitality to learn about teamwork and work ethic.”