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AN EAST Lancashire celebrity chef has launched an exclusive apprenticeship helping students to gain employment in Michelin star restaurants.

Nigel Haworth, who has run the Northcote Group and Ribble Valley inns since 1989, is behind the L20 Northcote apprenticeship based at Hugh Baird College in Bootle on Merseyside.

The Ribble Valley chef will be visiting the college each term to meet students, lead training sessions, devise seasonal menus and run the kitchen service, in a bid to encourage better training standards available to the UK’s hospitality sector.

“This is a unique opportunity and partnership to develop the up-and-coming talent for the North West region,” he explained.

“A core objective of the L20 Northcote apprenticeship is to structure training to meet the job requirements rather than just the qualification standard. Apprentices will develop in-depth skill and knowledge through a broad array of experiences,” said Accrington-born Nigel.

He is famous for reaching BBC2’s Great British Menu final with his Lancashire Hotpot. The Michelin Star chef has also appeared on the BBC’s Saturday Kitchen and Market Kitchen.

He added: “Part of the course will focus on the history of Liverpool food to ensure learners appreciate the heritage and culture of the hospitality environment they work in. The reciprocal partnership will also see the L20 Hotel School delivering bespoke professional chef training to upskill staff within the Northcote Group.

"It’s an incredibly exciting time for me and everybody involved at Northcote and Hugh Baird College – the sky’s the limit.”

Former Blackburn College vice principal Yana Williams, who is now Hugh Baird College principal, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Nigel, who has a strong reputation for excellence in the hospitality sector.

“We want to ensure we provide local people with the facilities and training to capitalise on opportunities that lie within this sector and help the economy grow.”