The Definitive Guide: How To Become A Catering Assistant

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What is a Catering Assistant?

  • Job Description

    Office jobs aren’t for everyone. If you have a keen interest in cooking and catering and would rather spend your days in a practical role, than behind a computer screen, then a catering assistant job could be the career you’ve been searching for.

    Catering assistants help in the kitchen as much as they can, with preparing food, cleaning, checking stock, accepting deliveries and serving food.

    You could land a job in a school, a café or restaurant, a hotel, a hospital, the armed forces, a waterpark, or many other places – there are so many opportunities.

    You’ll learn new skills all the time, and you’ll even get to try new foods. There are some downsides though – such as long working hours on your feet, and working in a hot and busy environment.

  • Hours of Work

    You are likely to be working shifts including evenings, weekends and public holidays. Of course, this will depend on where you work – if you are working in a school dining hall, you will only be required to work during the week. A restaurant’s working hours will differ from a private catering business.

  • Main Responsibilities

    So, what will your main responsibilities be as a Catering Assistant?

    Duties typically include:

    • Taking orders
    • Cleaning the kitchen including work surfaces, walls and floors
    • Washing dishes and kitchen appliances
    • Unloading deliveries
    • Basic food preparation such as peeling and chopping
    • Plating up food, ensuring correct portion control
    • Serving food
    • Maintaining stock
    • Preparing the dining area such as cleaning and setting tables

Key Catering Assistant qualifications

Do you have the qualifications to get the job?

Aside from having the basic GCSE’s grades A*-C, you could look into some further courses in hospitality and catering, such as:

Vital Catering Assistant skills

Want to know if you’ve got what it takes? These are the skills you’ll need for the role

  • Ability to work as part of a team
  • Ability to follow instructions
  • Good communication skills
  • Customer service skills
  • High standards of hygiene
  • Ability to keep calm under pressure
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What is a Catering Assistant salary?

As a full time catering assistant, you will have a starting salary from around £12,000 and as you gain experience it could rise to £16,000. Hourly rates will depend on your age, however you can expect to earn between £5 and £8 per hour. Both full time and part time positions are usually available as well as seasonal work.

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How to become a Catering Assistant

Now that you know what a Catering Assistant does, how do you become one?

One way you could get into this career is by doing a hospitality apprenticeship. You can qualify for this with GCSE’s, depending on the level of the apprenticeship that you are applying to. You will learn everything you need to know on the job whilst gaining qualifications at the same time. The apprenticeship rate of pay is usually quite low, however this will go up on completion of the course and as you gain more experience.

If an apprenticeship isn’t for you, you could gain basic qualifications full time, before applying for a job as a catering assistant. There are often opportunities to gain further qualifications whilst working. If you can show a keen interest in the catering industry and have the basic food safety hygiene certificates on your CV, then the job should be yours in no time.

How to develop your Catering Assistant career

There are exciting times ahead, because the next logical stage of your career is to progress to a kitchen supervisor or a catering manager. With dedication and hard work you can work your way up the ladder and manage you own team of catering assistants. This won’t happen over night though, you’ll have to prove yourself and earn the position by gaining years of experience.

If you especially enjoy the cooking aspect of the job, you can look into progressing to a trainee chef.

And if being behind the scenes just isn’t your thing, then why not move into front of house roles such as waiting/waitressing or bar work?

There are so many opportunities that you could go into within the catering and hospitality industry.

Career Opportunities

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