Coventry restaurant opens to train young people

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A new restaurant in Coventry will be serving careers as well as meals with the aim of changing the lives of young people.

Metropolis is set to be launched on June 17 in the heart of the city centre with an all-inclusive menu that is filled with feel-good food.

PET-Xi Restaurants will be taking over the former Drapers Bar, giving it a 1920s Art Deco makeover and operating it as a training ground for young people who are not in employment, education or training (NEET).

The aim is in this year alone to have 100 young people training in the hospitality industry, and the team is currently recruiting for the first team members who will begin later this month when the restaurant opens.

Head Chef for Metropolis will be Sean Woodall who is experienced in training and working with young people and is looking forward to passing on his experience with young people as he has benefitted from a similar journey himself.

Also joining the team as General Manager is Kate Maguire from Holiday Inn who has a background of hospitality management and mentoring.

Sean has designed a menu with 10 main course options – with every dish being offered in traditional, vegan and vegetarian options and all looking the same.

He is joined by an experienced management team comprising Fleur Sexton and Dave Lewis of training company PET-Xi.

Fleur Sexton, Managing Director of PET-Xi, said: “We are extremely excited to be announcing Metropolis and everything that is represents for the city.

“Our aim is for the restaurant to be a real destination with the city, as well as be an excellent restaurant that has the benefit of being a training ground for young people who may be in time of help, guidance and training.

“Metropolis will provide a life-affirming opportunity for unqualified young people not in education, employment or training to gain qualifications, experience and turn their lives around.

“It is part of the commitment to bring people and life back to the city post Covid and is based on the 2021 City of Culture Coventry Moves initiative, focusing on the journeys which begin in Coventry.”

All trainees will gain experience in all the aspects of restaurant work including chef training, sous chef training, kitchen porter, waiting, customer service, bar work and marketing.

They will each be given a Traineeship placement which will also include general employability and work prep, Maths and English Functional Skills, Customer Service and Food Hygiene level 2 qualification.

There will be the opportunity for those who really show potential to take part in a Level 3 or 4 Leadership and Management qualification. On completion of their traineeship, each young person will graduate onto a Kick Start placements for six months and which includes 25-hour salary paid per week. Stage 3 will be progression will then be onto an apprenticeship with in Hospitality and Catering or Customer Services Level 3 or 4.

As well as PET-Xi providing training, the team will also be working with WCG to provide teaching opportunities as well.

Angela Joyce, CEO of WCG, said: “This is a very exciting project that will be helping to change the lives of young people in the region and we are delighted to be supporting it.

“We have invested significantly in recent years to expand our hospitality provision with the launch of our Professional Cookery course at Rugby College and the planned opening our new on-site restaurant ‘Courses’ later this year.

“It is crucial that we are able to bring through the next generation of skilled hospitality professionals to help rebuild the industry following the pandemic, and projects like this will be essential to doing just that.”

There will be an exciting exhibition in the upstairs of the restaurant that will also be called Metropolis, which is the story of Coventry through its buildings.

From its origins in the medieval period through to the modern-day Metropolis takes the viewer on a journey of growth and achievement and through the highs and lows of this incredible city.

The exhibition will also host the city’s Urban Room, which will produce events throughout the City of Culture year that will discuss the experience of urban living both now and in the future.

Dr Geoff Willcocks, Director of Arts, Culture and Heritage, Coventry University and Vice Chair of Historic Coventry Trust, said: “We are very excited to present this exhibition. One of Coventry’s greatest assets is its architecture and we are thrilled to be telling its story.

“This has been a fantastic collaboration between Coventry University, Historic Coventry Trust and the Coventry City of Culture Trust which have helped fund the exhibition through the Great Place scheme. The Great Place scheme was supported by Arts Council England and National Heritage Lottery Fund.

“Now, with the addition of PET-Xi and the restaurant, which is a truly incredible initiative, Metropolis is set to be one of the ‘must visit’ locations during City of Culture Year.”