Apprenticeships | Careers in the seafood industry | Seafish

Apprentices are catch of the day for Plymouth fish and chip shop

A case study looking at how apprentices can be a real asset to the team at Harbourside and deliver a great fish and chip experience.

From crispy chips to flaky fish, nothing is more nostalgic than fresh fish and chips by the seaside. Engrained in British culture, there’s now more than 10,000 specialist fish and chip shops in the UK.

But with the rise in eateries comes increased competition, and to be head and shoulders above the rest, fish and chip businesses need a well-trained, knowledgeable and motivated workforce with the right skills. Apprenticeships are a great way to achieve this.

Catering to all regions with numerous training providers across the UK, the apprenticeships offer individuals of all ages, roles and levels of experience the chance to learn how to deliver the perfect fish and chip experience.

One Devon fish and chip business that has reaped the benefits of having apprentices on site is the Harbourside in Plymouth.

We’ve found that those taking on apprenticeships are serious about carving out a career in the industry, making them real assets to the team.
Sarah Lock, owner of the Harbourside
Sarah Lock, owner of the Harbourside, standing next to her award
Sarah Lock, owner of the Harbourside, winner of The Healthy Eating Award at the National Fish & Chip Awards 2018

Winner of The Healthy Eating Award at the National Fish & Chip Awards 2018, the business, which opened its doors more than a decade ago, now boasts both a traditional and a gluten-free chip shop in the seaside city.

We bought the Harbourside around ten years ago, revamping a 35-year-old fish and chip shop and adding a 50-cover restaurant to the first floor.

We didn’t have a background in the industry at the time - I previously had a career in computer science. What we did have was a love of fish and chips.

Two years after opening we decided to take on a few apprentices to help with the busy trade. Summer can be an extremely busy time, with us dishing out up to 5,000 portions of fish and chips over three months. Having enthusiastic, motivated individuals who are willing to hit the ground running is extremely important.

We previously have had members of staff who took on apprenticeships and successfully completed their training. This provided them with multitasking and time management skills, as well as health and safety and first aid qualifications.
Front view of the Harbourside fish and chip shop
Multi award-winning Harbourside, Plymouth

Plymouth is known for being one of the UK’s busiest ports and the city is set to welcome even more cruise liners in the next year, meaning the area will see a further influx of hungry tourists looking to sample the classic British dish.

Sarah believes that having friers and front-of-house with formal apprenticeship training is the key to dealing with heightened demand and will help the team at the Harbourside expand their horizons.

As well as our two fish and chip shops in Plymouth, we also have another shop in Cornwall and one in North Devon. I’m looking forward to seeing where our business goes next. Apprentices have helped us achieve our reputation as the go-to fish and chip shop in the Plymouth area.

Further information

For information and details of your nearest apprenticeship provider, please visit our Seafood business apprenticeships webpage.