Aspiring chefs to step up to the plate with launch of new NI Chef Academy

NI Hospitality School extends partnership with three of the region’s top hotels to facilitate new training academy with guaranteed employment for six newly qualified chefs


Aspiring chefs are being called to step up to the plate and enroll on a brand-new training course, launched today by the Northern Ireland Hospitality School, offering students the chance to gain a chef qualification and secure guaranteed employment with one of Northern Ireland’s top hotels.

The brand-new Chef Academy will see six successful candidates selected to undertake a year-long scholarship delivered through on-the-job training at one of Northern Ireland’s top hotels; Adair Arms Hotel, Galgorm Resort or Tullyglass House Hotel, where they will ultimately secure guaranteed employment.

Successful candidates will gain a nationally recognised qualification (FDQ Level 2 Diploma in Professional Chef – Northern Ireland), delivered by training partner South Eastern Regional College (SERC).  The course involves not just classroom learning, but on the job training with our highly skilled kitchen brigade as well as unique experiences with our local food producers.

Representing an investment in year one of nearly £250,000 the new academy aims to recruit six locally based chef apprentices for its first intake in September, with applications now open.

The announcement follows the launch of the Northern Ireland Hospitality School last April, part funded by Ballymena-based charity The Gallaher Trust. To date, the school has already supported 24 students in gaining full-time employment with partnering hotels through its dedicated Bar Academy.

The launch of its new Chef Academy is the latest development in the school’s ambitious plans to support the hospitality sector locally and provide a pathway to employment for those seeking a career in the industry. Each year, the NI Hospitality School aims to facilitate employment for six chefs and 24 bartenders in a £685,000 annual investment, providing a significant boost to local employment.


Lauren McAteer from The Gallaher Trust said:

“Since the NI Hospitality School was launched last year, we’ve been delighted to see the response from young people keen to get a foot on the hospitality ladder, as well as from those looking to make the move to a new career within the hospitality sector.

We’re very pleased that the school offers students a dedicated education centre which is focused on providing first-class training and development; as well as real-world experience of a busy kitchen environment and learning from the very best across three of Northern Ireland’s top hotels. For us, the fact that the school facilitates employment for all of the graduates is the ultimate goal and one that makes these courses so attractive to students.

The Gallaher Trust is delighted to continue our partnership with the Northern Ireland Hospitality School and looks forward to welcoming a new batch of qualified chefs, particularly at a time when the hospitality industry is facing recruitment challenges. This will no doubt add great value to Galgorm, Adair Arms Hotel and Tullyglass House Hotel.

The launch of the new Chef Academy complements the School’s dedicated Bar Academy and further underscores their commitment to firmly establish the NI Hospitality School as a centre for excellence. Well done to all those involved.”


Thomas Turley, South Eastern Regional College Lecturer in Hospitality and Catering, said:

“I’m delighted to work with the Northern Ireland Hospitality School to launch a brand-new Chef Academy dedicated to nurturing a new generation of culinary talent.

The new course is an ideal opportunity for anyone interested in becoming a chef to gain experience in a busy kitchen working under the supervision of passionate chefs at the top of their game, all whilst gaining a nationally recognised fully-funded qualification and securing guaranteed employment at the end of the 12-month programme.

Apprentices can enjoy a competitive benefits package including an attractive hourly rate above the recommended National Living Wage and receive a mix of on and off-the-job training with ongoing mentorship support. The blended learning approach also includes off-site training, with chef apprentices offered the opportunity to learn about sourcing, meeting some of the region’s top food suppliers and even getting to cook alongside a leading chef for a high profile dinner event.

The quality of the programme is second to none and offers aspiring chefs a real foot in the door to a fantastic new career alongside top employers. With no formal entry requirements, the course is accessible to everyone that can demonstrate a passion for cooking and a real drive to build their career as a chef. With just six coveted places up for grabs, I would encourage anyone interested to step up to the plate and apply today.”


Applications close on 29th August 2022, with successful candidates enrolled from mid-September.

For more information, or to apply, please visit nihospitalityschool.com