What’s becoming clear to me, is that for our apprentices to truly be the future of our industry, we need to educate and inform them on the biggest issue we all face – climate change and what we can do to make change.
In May 2021, Compass Group UK & Ireland became the first UK foodservice business to commit to Climate Net Zero – by 2030. The food system is responsible for 26% of global greenhouse gas output, so the responsibility is on us to create a more sustainable industry and the opportunity for us to make an impact is significant.
To reach this ambitious target, we created a Roadmap and Charter of milestones and philosophies, to demonstrate our journey to achieve the net zero goal. Part of this includes developing our people to move the industry forward – at every stage of their career.
Apprenticeships offer an ideal opportunity to ensure that the next generation of leaders have sustainability instilled in them from the start. They are learning about the industry and their craft with sustainable processes at the very heart of all they do – rather than having to rethink existing learned behaviour.
As part of our net zero journey, we’re encouraging our chefs to reformulate menus; creating reduced and low carbon options that draw on local, seasonal and plant-based ingredients and consciously look to reduce food waste. Our apprentices will be receiving sustainability education from the outset, so they always consider both people and planet in their decision-making processes.
In 2021, we catered and cleaned at COP26, with a clear food strategy and a commitment to using learnings as a legacy for positive change. Supporting COP26 was once in a lifetime opportunity for our teams, giving hundreds of staff the chance to work as part of the blue zone team. Our team included local college students and apprentices, giving them experience of a large-scale event with a real focus on innovation in sustainability.
Our COP26 legacy is to be market leaders in sustainable food; focused on locally sourced, plant forward and in-season menus, with a continuous reduction of emissions and waste across our supply chain and service delivery. Our apprentices and students came away inspired by what they learned from the event, and we hope that this will play a part in influencing their choices as they develop their careers.
Our food system – and the influence we have on it – carries real opportunities to slow climate change and to actively help us reverse it. But, to achieve our long-term goals, we need to consider not just the leaders of today but also the leaders of tomorrow.
Over the last year, we’ve worked with partners like Springboard, Skills Development Scotland, Apprenticeship Hospitality Scotland, Eastbank Academy, City of Glasgow College and Polaris, to support our mission of developing our talent and investing in the future of the industry in Scotland. .
Scottish Apprenticeships are playing an essential part in the nation’s economic revival, and they’ll also play a key role in the nation’s future. We need our apprentices to learn the skills of their trade, as well as the skills to protect our planet.
David Hay, Managing Director, Compass Scotland
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.