Requirements for becoming a chef

If you are looking for a job where there are plenty of vacancies and plenty of job opportunities, then you may consider training to become a chef.

You will need to have a passion for food and an enjoyment of cooking and be enthusiastic about learning new skills. It is helpful if you have good “people” skills, are good at organising and can work well under pressure.

You will then need to make sure you have plenty of kitchen experience from washing up, to chopping vegetables, to baking and preparing meals. You can start to gain experience like this from helping out at home but you will then, ideally, need to take some kind of food preparation and cooking course. Most local further education colleges offer various kinds of catering course, part-time and full-time, from simple level 1 courses to more advanced ones and specialist ones, like becoming a patisserie chef or learning the art of cake decoration. You may also find details of catering apprenticeships from local colleges or employers and you could start your culinary education by taking an apprenticeship.

Don’t be afraid to move about

Some employers will love seeing a CV with just a few long-term roles on there, rather than a CV packed with different roles and experiences. Why you ask? Well, it tells them that you’re loyal and in it for the long haul. That said, other employers will like to see a CV with many different roles and experiences, this can tell them that the individual is not the type to get comfortable, and is an individual who will do anything and everything to develop and pick up more skills.

When you’re young, so let’s say 18-25, you’re likely to move about a little before you find the job that’s right for you. You won’t know where you’re heading and what you want to do if you don’t get out there and work at different companies. You can build confidence this way, and combine all of the things you’ve learned and dealt with to push forward.

If you have a CV with lots of short-term jobs and gaps, this can be problem, but only if you’re unable to explain why you took the route you did. Was you doing work experience at that time? Was you taking time out to travel? There may be good reasons for gaps, but they’re always explainable and so too are short-term positions. Just don’t make a habit out of moving, because if it’s still the case when you’re 30, questions may be asked.

Is it Worthwhile Getting a Degree?

Nowadays, a large percentage of the population will go to university to attain a degree qualification. But is it worthwhile? There are many arguments for and against gaining a degree. Here are some of the main questions to consider when deciding whether to study for a degree:

  • Do you have a particular career in mind? If you do, find out about the best ways to get into it. You should be able to find out plenty of information online. If you’d be better off gaining experience, you might want to look into volunteering or other relevant jobs as stepping stones towards your goal.
  • Do you want to carry on studying? Ultimately, you should only carry on studying if it’s something you enjoy. If you don’t, there are plenty of other options.
  • Are you happy to take on the financial commitment? University can be extremely expensive. You can get a loan to cover your fees and living costs, and repayments are relatively small, but the downside is that you’ll probably be paying it back throughout the majority of your career.
  • Will a degree further your career? Even if you don’t know exactly what it is that you want to do, a degree will most likely come in useful at some point. You gain transferable skills, and it shows that you’re a dedicated, capable of learning to a high level and can work independently.
  • Do I need a degree for most careers? A lot of employers will now require a degree. Even if they don’t, a degree may give you an edge over another candidate. If you don’t have a particular career in mind, which would require specific training or qualifications, a general degree can be beneficial because it will give you lots of different options for your future.

Training on the Job

With the prevalence of internships and apprenticeships, it’s becoming more common than ever to train on the job. They are available across many different job sectors, offering manual hands-on work right through to office roles. You will often be able to gain a qualification for your efforts. It’s a brilliant way to get into an industry.

You don’t necessarily have to start from scratch to learn new skills at work, however – a career change can often be based on many of the current skills that you already possess. Many employers value experience, even if it isn’t in the exact same field as you currently work. For example, if you can prove that you have worked with a wide range of people and can handle deadlines and a little bit of pressure, these are real-life skills which employers will recognise. Previous experience in the workplace shows that you’re able to apply yourself to new tasks and learn new skills, so don’t be put off from applying for jobs just because it’s not something you have exact experience of. They’ll often be looking for someone to fit into a pre-existing team, and if you can show that you’re able to do this, they’ll be happy to teach you new skills along the way.

If you’re looking for your first job out of university, college or school, again don’t be put off by your lack of direct experience. Many employers are happy to take on new graduates. Show that you’re enthusiastic and emphasise how well you were able to learn whilst in education, and this will get you a long way.

Is it really about who you know?

Sometimes it doesn’t matter how many skills or qualifications you have, if you know someone who’s high up in a business, there’s a chance you can get a good job with them. Contacts are obviously crucial when you’re developing your career, and you never know when or if you’re going to need them, but there are many businesses out there that have employed people they know on merit.

It’s upsetting for some, as they may see another individual (without the qualifications or skills they have) exceeding them in a career, and you can feel like you’re hard done by. That said, it’s even more of a reason why you should aim to develop as many contacts in your industry as possible, because you may one day be the one who’s taking huge strides forwards thanks to knowing a certain someone.

In most jobs, it’s not ‘who you know’, and there’s almost always going to be certain skills required, but you can be favoured for knowing somebody in a business, so keep developing those contacts.