As the Covid restrictions continue, a young Modern Apprentice in the Hospitality Industry has spoken of his relief at getting back into his daily routine at The Dalmore Inn & Restaurant in Blairgowrie.

Lewis Johnstone-Avolio, 21, from Burrelton in Perthshire, has spent that last 18 months doing an SVQ in Hospitality Supervision and Leadership SCQF Level 7 at The Dalmore Inn, a popular eatery which is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2020. The vocational qualification combines work based training relevant to Lewis’ employment, with time at Perth College. Prior to this, he completed a stepping stone course which lasted a year.

Having now completed all the course work for the qualification, he has also achieved what is known as a personal licence, which allow him to sell alcohol on behalf of any business that has a premises licence or a club premises certificate. The relationship is similar to the way that a driving licence permits the driving of any car.

Having been furloughed since March, Lewis is now back at work between five and six days a week at The Dalmore Inn, where his duties include serving dining customers, covering the bar, supervising in the kitchen, and learning about stock control and costs.

“I’m so glad to be back at work here at The Dalmore Inn,” said Lewis, who enjoys keeping fit in his leisure time. “Completing the apprenticeship and working full time can be difficult to juggle, but it was equally hard to be on furlough and not have the buzz of the restaurant, not to mention the interaction of the staff and customers.”

Lewis explained that, like many young people, being under the restrictions of lockdown, was an unusual and surprising situation to find himself in. 

“I’m glad to be back at work’

Of his college work however, he said that it was tempting to “allow myself too many ‘days off’ and postpone work for the next day.”

“I should have just completed it instantly, since there was time, which was foolish on my behalf,” he said. “Overall, I managed to keep my motivation up though, and still complete the necessary course work. Perth College were really good with the online learning, and kept me well informed of my progress. I have nothing but praise for them, along with the owners and management at The Dalmore Inn, who have really looked out for me too, and made me feel a part of the team.”

Lewis went on to say that completing his apprenticeship has helped him a great deal.

“A great deal of what I learned on the course will benefit the way I work now and in the coming months. My knowledge of the hospitality environment, and it’s many challenges, has really multiplied,” he said. “I’d urge anyone considering a Modern Apprenticeship to go for it!”

Lewis finished by saying that he wished The Dalmore Inn all the very best in its tenth anniversary year.  “We had some special events planned before lockdown to celebrate the ten years. We’re still going to put the Inn in the spotlight as it’s such an important gathering place for the local community.”    

Lewis’ boss, Manager of the Dalmore Inn, Arnaud Merrouche, said: “We wish to congratulate Lewis on achieving his qualification at what has been a very difficult and challenging time for us all in the hospitality industry.”

“We’ve all been very impressed by his hard working attitude, he really enjoys the job and is popular with customers.  He, and other young apprentices like him, are the future for this industry.”

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