Sam – Stephenson’s Chesterfield

Apprenticeships open doors to success for one local business
Mother and son team, Claire and Sam, run award-winning coffee shop, Stephensons in Chesterfield, Derbyshire. They are as passionate about their business as they are about apprenticeships.

After starting at Stephensons as a Level 2 Front of House Apprentice, when the business was under different ownership, Sam soon realised that hospitality was where he wanted to carve his career. So at the age of 19, not only has Sam developed all the skills he needs to manage the growing business through his own apprenticeships, he is also supporting more apprentices to develop their skills.

When the business came up for sale Sam’s mum decided to swap teaching for a role as a coffee shop owner. Having worked together for over 3 years now the business has gone from strength to strength, operating across two sites.

Sam has completed his level 3 apprenticeship and is looking at the next stage of study. He manages apprentices of his own as they continue to value what they contribute to their success.

Having gone through his apprenticeship, Sam is a big advocate for what they offer, “A lot of university graduates finish their studies and aren’t sure what they want to do in life. I’m younger than most graduates and I think myself fortunate to be in the position that I know exactly what I want to do. I have gained the essential skills needed to be a success in this industry already. I love working in this industry, I get to work with colleagues who I class as my friends and I meet new people every day, so for a people person like me it’s perfect, there’s nothing better than putting a smile on a customer’s face.”

Claire explains that she feels apprenticeships are a two-way street in her opinion, “As much as it’s a huge opportunity for an apprentice it’s also a huge opportunity for us. Every apprentice brings something different to the table and they all help to grow our business. All of the apprentices who have joined us have progressed positively by either gaining a job here full time or going on to university in one case. As an expanding business we find ourselves in the position of needing more middle managers so apprenticeships are the perfect way to mould someone into those roles.”

“Apprenticeships are good for the local economy and help me to employ local people. As a parent, I have seen how apprenticeships have enabled my son to develop a passion for something he loves at the same time as getting the qualifications that will help his career to develop in the future.”