‘Employer of the year’ award for Limerick Strand Hotel and executive chef

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Executive Chef, Tom Flavin, and the Limerick Strand Hotel were announced yesterday by the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, as a 2020 Generation Apprenticeship ‘Employer of the Year’. The Limerick Strand Hotel was nominated by the Hospitality Education and Training Centre, run by Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board.

The 2020 Generation Apprenticeship competition captured the best of employers currently undertaking an apprenticeship across a wide range of occupations from electrical, construction and engineering roles to healthcare, hospitality and financial services.

“These winning employers demonstrate all that is good about apprenticeship and the key part it is going to play in Ireland’s recovery and our country’s future” – Minister Simon Harris TD.

Tom Flavin was nominated by Bernadette Enright, Centre Manager of the Hospitality Education and Training Centre. Bernadette said: “Tom believes that the apprenticeship programme of structured education and training combining learning in the workplace with learning in an education and training institution offers the best possible outcome for next generation chefs, as chefs are supported to ‘earn and learn’. Tom was the first to lead and promote that industry pay apprentices to attend FET/College. He supported the programme by encouraging chefs and employers that they must invest in continuous training.”

Tom Flavin has dedicated his career to the world of culinary. Since joining the Strand Hotel, Tom has built a team of 30 chefs who all have training plans and a plan with routes into the different divisions of a kitchen. Since the Hospitality Education and Training Centre in Limerick opened, Tom has taken trainees from Level 4 on Traineeship programmes, before the Commis Chef L6 Apprenticeship programme was launched. He has also been an ambassador in promoting the apprenticeship.

Tom travelled to Helsinki to represent the Limerick Strand Hotel at the VET Excellence Awards and was joined by apprentice José Mata, at the Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board Hospitality Education and Training Centre. The four-star Limerick Strand Hotel beat employers from across Europe to win the Small to Medium Size Enterprise (SME) Award at the awards. Tom was presented with the SME Award in recognition of its commitment to the on-going training and development of its staff. Apprentice José Mata who went on to win a gold medal at Chef Ireland/CATEX credits Tom for his success: “Tom encouraged me to enter. I wouldn’t have achieved this without Tom’s support.”

Tom is an advocate for local produce and was nominated by Fáilte Ireland as a Food Champion. In 2019 Tom won both the ‘Local Food Hero’ Award and his restaurant The River Restaurant won the Best Hotel and Guesthouse Award Category.

Stuart Holly is the editor and co-founder of The Clare Echo. A native of Ennis, Stuart studied at St Flannan's College before obtaining a journalism degree in Dublin. After interning at The Evening Herald, he landed his first job with The Irish Daily Mail, Stuart worked in newspaper production with the Independent Group and in Auckland, New Zealand before a lengthy spell as a pun-spewing sub-editor at the Irish Daily Star. In 2015, Stuart returned to The Banner County where he took up employment as a news reporter with The Clare People.

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