A café and bar owner is urging other small businesses to harness the talents of apprentices.
Sophie Hardman who, along with partner Jake Lowndes, runs Little Seeds Bar and Kitchen in Stone has taken on front of house apprentice Megan Tams.
Seventeen-year-old Megan, who lives in the town, was looking for apprenticeship opportunities when she dropped into Little Seeds and spoke with Sophie.
“I have been working in bars and restaurants since I was 16 and never realised you could have a front of house apprentice.
“Me and Jake had talked about having an apprentice chef but it had never occurred to us for other areas of the business.”
The couple, who started their business in the June of 2016 were taken through what the course would entail by the college – which has been very supportive of their work with Megan.
“Some small businesses might see having an apprentice as being a bit of a risk.
“But actually, particularly for us and the industry we are in, knowing that Megan is going to be with us for 12 months is brilliant.”
Megan, who is studying at Newcastle under Lyme College, has been working at Little Seeds since November.
Initially starting out at two days a week she is now working four days, including the busy weekend shifts.
“I’m a much more hands on person so that’s why I wanted to do an apprenticeship.
“I have learnt a huge amount already and there are plans to get me working on the bar as well. Being in a small team means that I have the opportunity to have a go at everything.
“It would be brilliant if other small businesses would follow what Jake and Sophie have done with me and look at taking on an apprentice.”
And while Sophie was new to working with an apprentice she said the college had been very supportive.
“When Megan first came in I didn’t really know what the process would be but we had Nicola Martin from the college come and visit to take us through what was expected of us and of Megan.
“That support continued and we know they are only ever and email or call away if we have a questions.”