Deliveroo has launched a new chef apprenticeship scheme today as it calls on the Government to enable large employers to transfer more of their apprenticeship levy down the supply chain.

Responding to the concerns of its restaurant partners, the delivery giant has said it will provide 4,000 online training courses for all 35,000 of its UK partners to help upskill their employees, funded by a £100k investment of its own apprenticeship levy.

In partnership with apprenticeship provider HIT Training, the scheme will train up to 20 chefs a year through HIT’s award-winning national chef academy.

The scheme comes as new research by Deliveroo has found that 8 in 10 of its restaurant partners are struggling to hire new chefs, and more than half (54%) cite not finding enough suitably qualified applicants as the main hiring barrier.

Currently, large employers like Deliveroo are restricted by a 25% cap on the amount of unspent apprenticeship levy which can be transferred to businesses in their supply chains who would otherwise have to pay for an apprenticeship via the government co-investment model.

In what it sees as a national chef shortage, the company is calling on government to consider an increase in that cap.

“We speak to restaurants across the country every day and want to help them tackle the challenges they face,” said Rohan Pradhan, Deliveroo chief operating officer. “That is why Deliveroo is investing in new chef apprenticeships and rolling-out thousands of online training courses for all our restaurant partners and their staff.”

“Our priority is to help our restaurant partners hire, train and upskill restaurants workforces and develop a new generation of culinary talent.”

Speaking at MCA’s Food To Go conference last week, Pradhan explained that the company had been concentrating on a long-term restaurant proposition to “give control back to restaurants,” and discussed Pickup as its latest restaurant-facing initiative.

“We’ve heard feedback from our restaurants that they’re worried about what delivery might do to their relationship with the customer. With pickup, we want to drive consumers back to them,” he said.