Taking the lead

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Rising Star

It’s been a busy year so far for 20-year-old Kieran Bulpit. As well as being named a Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year finalist, he has just completed an apprenticeship, which he says has given him a wider perspective on hospitality beyond the kitchen

I joined Linfords Traditional Fish & Chips in Market Deeping, Peterborough, the same way as many youngsters do: part-time while doing my A’Levels. 

I thought about going to university but I wasn’t sure so I stayed on and learnt to fry. Then in 2022, Chris, the owner, asked me and a few of the other staff if we wanted to do an apprenticeship and, whilst most of them did a production chef course, I did a hospitality manager apprenticeship. This was because, of the five or six segments we covered, only one of them was in the kitchen, the rest were about the business, customer service, and leadership and development skills, which is where my interests lie. 

I completed the apprenticeship last month and, I have to say, it was brilliant. It’s probably the best thing I’ve ever done because I’ve learnt so much about different styles of leadership and communication and how to adapt your style to different people to get the best out of the team which, ultimately, impacts the business. I also really enjoyed learning about the financial side of running a business. 

I would definitely encourage business owners to look at apprenticeships and for staff to ask about them because there are so many different ones available and they can be completed while working. 

Hospitality can push many younger people away but, for me, doing an apprenticeship has completely changed my outlook on the industry. Rather than being a temporary job that I did for a bit of money, I now see it as a huge industry with no end of opportunities to improve and develop.

Although I’m still frying, I now know the operations side of the business is what I’m interested in: developing the staff as well as the business financially.  Since Chris took over Linfords in 2019, he has been running the business on his own, trying to do everything. Because he has given me this opportunity to develop, I can help him so much more now. If I wasn’t in the fish and chip industry, I probably would have waited another 5-10 years to get to where I am today.

I’d definitely encourage business owners to invest in their younger staff and expose them to opportunities beyond just frying fish and chips. But there is also an onus on the younger staff members to take advantage of the opportunities available. Get involved in the Drywite Young Fish Frier competition, for example. Since being involved in the competition, I’ve been on a skills training day at KFE as well as a day trip to London with the Norwegian Seafood Council where we went to the Norwegian Ambassador’s residence. I’ve met so many knowledgeable people already and had opportunities I would never have thought possible. 

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