Bryggargatan trains and recruits high school students to meet recruitment needs
Since itsinception in 2011, Bryggargatan has offered restaurant students internships and extra sessions while attending high school. The young people are trained and given more responsibility in the kitchen as their skills grow.
- The restaurant and food programme has been our recruitment base for many years and we have the expertise to train the students. Only they are inspired and ready to do their best every day," says Bryggargatan's owner and founder Jon Oskar Arnason.
19-year-old Timon Lundström is one of the latest talents to be educated at Bryggargatan in parallel with secondary school. In December 2020, he did his first internship at the restaurant and after that he worked part-time until graduation in the summer of 2022, when he became a permanent employee.
- It was a great opportunity to come here and learn. I'm glad they saw the potential in me and the Brewery Street set-up is great. I got new contacts and an insight into what working life is like," says Timon, who grew up in Tåmeträsk outside Byske north of Skellefteå.
Industry for young people
The Corona pandemic hit many industries hard, and restaurants were forced to close for periods or only allow a reduced number of customers. Although Bryggargatan didn't really have hours for Timon during the pandemic, he was welcomed into the kitchen with open arms.
- Timon has a very good drive. He is positive, easy to learn and has had a straight upward curve, which is why we wanted to invest in his skills," says Jon Oskar.
Normally, Bryggargatan's new chefs start in the cold kitchen and work on desserts. Then they move on to steak, where fish dishes and garnishes are made. And finally to the grill, where they take care of meat, sauces and garnishes.
- That's usually the order, but everyone has a different aptitude and for some the set-up is different. There will be a progression as the skills grow and the aim is for the chefs to be able to rotate through all the stations after 1.5 years with us," says Jon Oskar.
He notes that the restaurant environment suits many young people.
- It's a fun, busy industry where you don't have to wait for confirmation, you get it straight on a good plate. It's very nice to have gone through an entire à la carte evening and feel, damn, we were good today.
Hope the training is reintroduced
Timon and his classmates were the last students to graduate from the restaurant and food programme. In spring 2020, the upper secondary school board decided to remove it as an in-school programme at Baldergymnasiet due to low enrolment and financial reasons. Today it is only offered as an apprenticeship programme. Jon Oskar was one of several restaurant owners in Skellefteå who signed a petition opposing the decision.
- It has been our recruitment base for years and the region's best chefs come from there. Skellefteå is expanding and our industry needs to grow by 200 to 300 seats in the next few years. That's why we actually hired three new employees during the pandemic as we felt it was necessary for the future. But it's super hard to find skills and the whole industry is now looking to recruit internationally instead. We have the customer base to be open every day of the week, both lunch and dinner, but we don't have the staff to do it. We hope that the decision will be made to reintroduce the training without the requirement that it needs to count towards home, and that the social benefits of having high quality restaurants will be seen in the long term.