Cohort 11 Graduation

On Wednesday evening we celebrated the graduation of our Cohort 11 apprentices. The evening is an emotional experience for us all at Fifteen, but particularly for the friends and family of the apprentices who have supported them on their journey.

On arrival, we were greeted with some wonderful drinks made by our expert bar team using Tarquin’s gin. We also got the opportunity to chat to our new apprentices from Cohort 12, as they brought round canapes they had made under the supervision of our new head chef Adam Banks. The restaurant was buzzing with excitement from all the staff, friends and family of the apprentices and all our trusted suppliers and loyal supporters.

After a few words from our Chair, Catherine Mead and CEO Matthew Thomson, the apprentices received a special message from Jamie Oliver, congratulating them on their achievements and wishing them well for the future. We watched a short film about each of the graduates, with commentary from staff who have worked closely with them on their journey; they then took to the stage individually to receive their certificates from Jamie’s mentor, Gennaro Contaldo.

This year, seven of our apprentices completed the programme and they have all been offered permanent jobs with their work experience providers which is a fantastic achievement. For some of them, this means leaving Cornwall and relocating elsewhere, which will be another big step for them.

There were a couple of special awards – ‘Progress by Personal Development’, for the apprentice who has changed the most and achieved enormously through their own personal development, which was awarded to Aaron Glennon.

‘Apprentice of the Year’ went to the apprentice who has achieved significantly whilst consistently remaining dedicated and committed to the programme. This was awarded to Kurtis Baines.

We also use graduation to celebrate some of the other people who help the apprentices to achieve their goals or support the programme as a whole and this year the ‘True Believer’ award was given to RAF 505 Wessex Squadron who help us in our initial selection process by running team building exercises and putting the applicants through their paces at RAF St Mawgan.

The ‘Most Inspirational Chef’ was voted for by Cohort 11 and was awarded to Andrew Basso, a graduate of Cohort 2 who returned to Fifteen as a CDP after some time working in the Isles of Scilly and is now a Senior CDP.

‘The One That Really Gets It’ award is voted for by the staff at Fifteen and was awarded to Charlotte Trevenna, our Welfare and Support worker who takes care of the apprentices and helps them to overcome their barriers to progression. Charlotte started as a waitress at Fifteen when we opened in 2006, left to train as a social worker and has returned to work with us, as she is so passionate about what we do.

Over the last 11 years, we have graduated 119 chefs through the apprentice programme. Many of whom have gone on to have successful careers or opened up their own businesses. One of these, Katie Gillmon from Cohort 5 was awarded the ‘Progression Award’ which recognises the outstanding career and professional achievements of someone who was once a Fifteen Cornwall apprentice. Since graduating in 2011, Katie has held various kitchen roles including head chef in three different establishments. Katie opened her own cafe just over a year ago, the Wood and Green Cafe in Wadebridge, where she serves dishes with a global influence whilst embracing her love for local, seasonal produce.

We wish all our graduates from Cohort 11 the very best of luck in their new roles and as part of the Fifteen family, we will always be on hand to provide support and big love as they progress in their careers.

This event would of course not be possible without the support of all the friends of the Foundation. We’d like to extend a special thank you to St Kitts Herbery, Cornish Seasalt and St Austell Brewery for donating some lovely gifts for our amazing goodie bags, Say it with Lights for the brilliant illuminated ‘Big Love’ lights, Campari UK and Tarquins for drinks, Simon Burt for photography, Kin Knives for the knife for the Apprentice of the Year and finally Nationwide Print for sponsoring our invitation and brochure.