It’s Filet Mignon Day, ladies and gentlemen!

Mhh, a whole day dedicated to this delicious cut of beef. Who could ask for more?

In assessing Commis Chef Apprentices, we see the care and dedication that goes into serving the finer cuts of meat like filet mignon. Commis chefs tend to be the most common starting position in many kitchens. They carry out basic tasks under the eye of a senior chef, and throughout their apprenticeship they’ll have all sorts of interactions with beef—identifying which cuts to use, prepping and seasoning the meat, storing different cuts in the appropriate manner and using correct knife skills to prepare the food.

So we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to give them some help! Here’s our quick guide to a few of the most popular cuts of beef: where they come from and how you might want to cook them for delicious results!

The Magnificent Cow

Diagram of cow.

First, we start with the cow itself. Just as End-Point Assessments are made up of different components—judgement tests, culinary challenges and practical observations abound—so are cows made up of different parts. The diagram above is for your reference (we’re looking at you, apprentices!), as we’ll be talking about where the following cuts come from in the animal.

Filet Mignon

Filet Mignon.
Photography by Robspinella, distributed under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license.

We begin, of course, with filet mignon. This piece of meat is a smaller cut of the fillet, which is taken from the tenderloin, also known as the short loin. This muscle is one of the least active on the cow, which makes its meat incredibly tender. The fillet is regarded as the king of all steaks, which explains why it comes with such a high price tag! If you can afford to dine on a filet mignon, then you’re clearly doing something right!

Apprentice cooking tip: A filet mignon should be cooked over an incredibly high heat as quickly as possible to avoid the meat drying out.

Brisket

Beef brisket roast.

The brisket comes from the chest area between the shoulders of a cow, which means that it does a lot of work in its lifetime. This cut has high amounts of fat and connective tissue, which adds a lot of flavor to the meat. The brisket is usually sold boned and rolled as a full joint, and needs to be slow-cooked to render all of its fat and connective tissue down.

Apprentice cooking tip: A brisket is traditionally slow-roasted in the oven until the meat falls apart and becomes beautifully tender, like the picture above. It can also be used in pit smoking, a popular American technique that creates smoked, barbequed briskets.

Sirloin

Sirloin Steak meal.

The sirloin is located just above the tenderloin, at the top of the loin in the diagram, and has a good balance of fat and tenderness. Sirloins are typically sold boned and rolled, ready for roasting whole, but are also cut and sold as steaks.

Apprentice cooking tip: The customer is always right, and they’ll have their own preference for how their sirloin steak is cooked. For your own reference, we suggest cooking this steak to at least a medium, as this gives the fat time to render down so it can cook in its own juices. Mhh.

Chuck Steak

Chuck steak stew.

Chuck comes from the area around the shoulders, which is a hard-working part of the cow. This means that chuck can turn out quite tough if it isn’t cooked correctly, but it also makes it one of the most economical cuts of beef out there.

Apprentice cooking tip: Chuck has a good amount of fat and tissue that needs to be broken down. This means that chuck is best used in stews, casseroles or pies, all of which are cooked for over an hour.

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We hope this guide helps all the Commis Chef Apprentices out there with your knowledge! If you’d like more help with your apprenticeship, then you can download our factsheet that’ll give you an overview of your programme, along with some very valuable tips for your End-Point Assessment.

If you’re an employer looking for an End-Point Assessment organisation, then find out more about the Commis Chef standard here.

To keep up to date with the latest news from TQUK EPA, return to our blog or follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

See you around The Hive!

The Importance of HR

Every company has their employees, and HR professionals play an integral role in managing workers and upholding workplace culture. HR employees are responsible for a large range of tasks including recruiting new hires, maintaining benefits and payroll, mediating conflict and managing training and development. Effective HR management can create an inclusive and healthy working environment, and happy employees can lead to higher productivity and an increase in worker retention.

57% of businesses who invest in apprentices report that a high proportion later go into management positions within the same company. This means that apprentices are likely to remain working for the company they completed their programme with, saving them on training costs and valuable time recruiting an outside hire.

The HR Support Apprenticeship

Shaking hands.

Hiring an HR Support Apprentice will provide support to the HR department of any business, and will also teach the apprentice valuable skills relating to their HR role. HR Support Apprentices will help your business by:

  • Handling day to day queries from employees and providing HR advice;
  • Working on a range of HR processes such as recruitment, hiring, training, performance management and employee retention;
  • Keeping employee records using HR systems;
  • Providing relevant HR information to the business;
  • Providing advice to managers on a large range of HR issues in regards to company policy and current law, and giving guidance to prevent employment tribunals or legal risk to the business.

An HR Support apprenticeship will typically last for 18 – 24 months. Apprentices will develop vital skills through:

  • Delivering excellent customer service on a range of HR queries;
  • Developing communication and interpersonal skills through dealing with customers and colleagues;
  • Building strong work relationships and developing teamwork skills;
  • Developing problem-solving skills through actively listening and understanding the root causes of any problems before providing HR solutions.

The End-Point Assessment

Writing in a notebook.

The End-Point Assessment for an HR Support apprenticeship includes two components which are equally-weighted. These components are:

  • The Consultative Project
  • The Professional Discussion

The apprentice must pass each component in order to pass the apprenticeship. Here’s a table with further information about the weighting and pass marks:

Assessment Method
Weighting
Pass Mark
Distinction Mark
Consultative Project

50%

60-84 marks

85-100 marks

Professional Discussion 50% 60-84 marks

85-100 marks

The Consultative Project

Typing computer.

The Consultative Project is a 3000-word document that outlines how the apprentice has applied their knowledge and HR related skills on the job. The Project should describe a situation where the apprentice has successfully worked with a customer to deliver a specific piece(s) of HR advice or provide an HR solution(s) for them.

The content of this document should include:

  • The project objectives;
  • The scope of the work;
  • A description of the situation/problem/business need;
  • The methodology used;
  • The information gathered;
  • Any conclusions and recommendations;
  • Details of the implementation plan.

Examples of the Project might be:

  • Providing guidance to a manager or a team on a range of HR matters, including recruitment, retirement and more;
  • Taking a defined role in a larger project run by more senior members of the HR team;
  • Carrying out analysis of HR information and producing recommendations for action.

The Professional Discussion

Meeting at a table.

The Professional Discussion is conducted after the TQUK End-Point Assessor has reviewed and marked the Consultative Project. It focuses on testing the skills and behaviours outlined in the Standard, along with any knowledge and skills components that weren’t covered in the Consultative Project.

To ensure consistency, TQUK EPA will provide a bank of standard questions that the TQUK End-Point Assessor will use in the Professional Discussion. There will be 13-16 questions asked during the Discussion, each of which will focus on a single component of the knowledge, skills or behaviours listed in Appendix 1 of the End-Point Assessment plan. The Professional Discussion should last between 60 – 75 minutes.

After the Apprenticeship

Business man in a suit.

Once the apprentice has completed their apprenticeship, they can choose to develop into more advanced roles such as:

  • HR Consultant/Partner;
  • HR Manager;
  • Employee Relations Manager;
  • Training and Development Manager.

We hope this blog gave you some more insight into the HR Support Apprenticeship! TQUK EPA is dedicated to delivering quality assessments at a competitive price to ensure that employers receive confident, skilled workers at the end of their apprenticeship. When you work with TQUK EPA, everyone wins!

To keep up to date with the latest apprenticeships and end-point assessment news, return to TQUK EPA’s blog or follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

See you around the Hive!

Some Important News…

TQUK is proudly Mancunian, born and bred, which is why we adopted the honey bee as the official symbol for our End-Point Assessment service. The bee has long served as the symbol of Manchester—it’s part of the Manchester coat of arms, which was given to the city in 1842, and the symbol came to prominence once again to represent the city’s unbreakable spirit after the events of 22 May 2017. We’ve got two interesting blogs which go more in-depth on the decision, but we’ve got more pressing news to declare for this blog…

We’ve adopted a beehive!

Yes, that’s right—in collaboration with the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA), we’ve decided to adopt our very own beehive in the North West.

So buckle up, because we’re going to tell you some unbee-lievable facts about honey bees, what we’re doing to help the decline of the honey bee population and how you can help too!

What is the British Beekeepers Association?

The British Beekeepers Association was founded in 1874 and originally brought together 26 beekeeping associations to represent their interests and facilitate an educational structure, supported by an exam process, for beekeeping. Now, they’re a national charity that represents over 75 beekeeping associations across the U.K. Their main goal? To promote the craft of beekeeping and educate the public on the importance of honey bees in the environment.

Are Honey Bees Actually that Important?

Yes. Yes they are.

If bees died out, then pollination couldn’t take place. This means that there would be no new plants, no more animals, and, ultimately, no more man.

Bees are incredibly important to the production of fruit and vegetables worldwide because of the part they play in pollination. Pollination is the reproductive process where pollen grains of a plant are transferred from the anther (male part of the plant) to the stigma (female part of the plant). The fertilised egg cells then grow into seeds, which are spread and blossom into plants!

The transfer of pollen from plant to plant relies on “pollinators”. Globally, there are more honey bees than any other type of bee or pollinating insect, which means that honey bees are the world’s most important pollinator of food crops. All sorts of fruits and vegetables are pollinated by honey bees—apples, pears, squashes and strawberries being a few among many! Honey bees also pollinate foraging crops, such as field beans, which are vital in feeding cattle, sheep and other such livestock.

Bees pollinate 70 different types of crops in the U.K., which means that they contribute £400 million to the economy every year.

The Buzz is Going Down

Unfortunately, the global honey bee population is in decline. Many point to the destruction of our environment as the cause, with major factors including climate change and the use of pesticides and insecticides on our agriculture.

It’s a concerning problem to say the least. The decline of the honey bee population could have a devastating impact on our global food security. Honey bees are estimated to pollinate over 90 different food crops worldwide. If their population diminishes to a low enough level, then the world may have to say goodbye to those crops, which would have devastating effects on the global food chain.

How Does Adopting a Beehive Help?

On the BBKA ‘Adopt a Beehive’ scheme, anyone can adopt a beehive in the U.K. All of the profits go to supporting environmental and educational projects dedicated to improving honey bee health and sustainability in Britain.

One of the many projects the scheme has funded is the Ron Hoskins’ ‘Swindon Honey Bee Conservation Group’, which is working hard to breed honey bees tolerant of the varroa destructor. This parasitic mite attacks and kills honey bees, and has devastated thousands of colonies across the U.K. It is also the parasite that has the largest impact on the beekeeping industry, which means that Ron’s work may just lead to a breakthrough for honey bee health everywhere! Good on you, Ron!

When you adopt a beehive, you also receive a little box of goodies from the BBKA that includes:

  • A lovely ‘Pure British’ jar of honey.
  • A ‘Pocket Guide to the Honey Bee’.
  • A pack of pollinator-friendly wildflower seeds for our little friends.
  • A Burt’s Bees lip balm.
  • A copy of the Hive Talk newsletter, which contains some useful information about beekeeping and the various ways you can help feed honey bees.

You can see the members of our fabulous EPA team, Rochelle and Lucy, posing with some of the products below!

Here’s What They Have to Say:

Rochelle Crichton – “I think it’s a great idea! Bees are really important to the environment, and I’m proud that TQUK is supporting all the great things that the BBKA does. With help pouring in from all over the U.K., honey bees should still be buzzing for a long time to come!”

Lucy Hall—“The BBKA was really lovely, and I thought the little jar of honey and lip balm they sent us was very sweet! TQUK loves the honey bee, and we’ll strive to do everything we can to support our furry little friends.”

Thanks very much, guys!

If you’re interested in getting involved in the ‘Adopt a Beehive’ scheme, then check out the BBKA website and have a go at adopting your very own beehive!

How TQUK Can Help You

The new apprenticeship standards are designed to improve upon what’s gone before and help with the apprentice’s initial journey into their chosen career, before you know it, they’ll be on the road to success.

Bee

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