Make a major change in your career this summer with the most popular and free ‘upskilling’ schemes

SUMMER is the hottest time to make a major change to your career.

Around a quarter of workers decide to change jobs or gain new qualifications.

Gifty Mensah left a job in a care home to qualify as a grill chef on Whitbread's fast-track 20-day scheme


Gifty Mensah left a job in a care home to qualify as a grill chef on Whitbread’s fast-track 20-day schemeCredit: Supercharged

But you don’t need to wait until September when everyone is back at work to get started.

Here are the summer’s most popular “upskilling” and employability schemes — and they’re all free.

Whitbread’s Fast Track Chef Program – 20 days

THIS innovative scheme from hotel, pub and restaurant chain Whitbread takes people with no kitchen skills and turns them into chefs in just 20 days.

The program is run by specialist Skills Academy trainers and covers safety, core kitchen preparation and cooking skills.

Trainees are placed into a kitchen with a buddy mentor before graduate from the programme.

Lisa Taylor, head of resourcing at Whitbread, said: “Our fast-track chef program offers everyone an opportunity to move into a really rewarding career in our kitchens, whatever their background or skillset.

“There’s always space in a Whitbread kitchen for more people to join us.”

You can apply at

Google Career Certificates – three weeks to six months

TEN per cent of current vacancies are tech roles, and Google Career Certificates support jobs in the fast-growing IT and cyber security industries.

You don’t need a degree or prior experience, and courses are online so you can learn at your own pace.


HubSpot Academy Social Media Marketing Course – 5 hours

MOST businesses use social media to promote their services, so even if you don’t want to work in marketing, understanding how to build a social media profile is invaluable.

This free course will see you certified in under a day.


Skills Bootcamps – up to 16 weeks

IF you’re aged over 19 and looking to change sectors or progress in your current industry, Skills Bootcamps provide free, flexible training to gain skills employers are searching for.

You also get a guaranteed job interview on completion of the course.

Find out more at

GIFTY Mensah left a job in a care home to qualify as a grill chef on Whitbread’s fast-track 20-day scheme.

The 45-year-old, from Gillingham, Kent, said: “To become a grill chef in 20 days you’ll need passion for the job, be ready to adapt to changes and be great at timekeeping.

“Whitbread has all the tools and equipment that you need to upgrade your career. I would recommend this route to others as there are lots of opportunities, plus it’s free.

“If you’re willing to put in your time and effort you can do more than you dreamed of.”

Take it to next level

LOVING your summer job?

Then take it from temp to permanent, just like around one in seven summer workers end up doing.

Jenna Ackerley is MD of


Jenna Ackerley is MD of Supercharged

Jenna Ackerley is MD of, which employs more than 60 seasonal employees each summer.

Here she shares her top tips on taking the next step.

  • ACT LIKE IT’S THE JOB YOU WANT, NOT THE JOB YOU HAVE: When my firm looks to recruit, we most often hire from within – and most of our management team first joined us in seasonal junior positions. If you treat the seasonal job as an opportunity to get your foot in the door, there are lots of chances to grow.
  • HAVING A CLEAR LONG-TERM PLAN: See each job as an opportunity to develop transferable skills, build experience and develop contacts. Those that play the long game and work hard are most likely to get noticed.
  • HAVE YOUR PEERS’ BACKS: Supporting your colleagues will impress those above you. Culture and values ​​are at the heart of everything the best employers do.
  • BE PROACTIVE: Stand out by not always waiting for someone to give you work but by finding something to do until you are redirected. This shows passion and makes you indispensable to the team.
  • ASK QUESTIONS: We love working with people who want to learn and develop their skills.


MODULAR home builder ENEVATE is hiring 40 new staff including welders, plumbers and fabricators.

See careers-at-enevate/

Virtual interns

TAKING a summer internship is a sure-fire way to boost your CV.

With remote working becoming more common, nine in ten small business bosses agree that remote interns help to bring new knowledge to their businesses.

Dan Nivern, CEO of Virtual Internships, said: “Start-ups and small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and Gen Z represents the future of our workforce.

“By bridging the gap between these two forces, Virtual Internships is empowering both sides to thrive and succeed.”

You can find out more and apply at


THE UK CAREERS FAIR is visiting 70 location across the UK this summer.

Find out more at

Learning for life

IF the prospect of adult life is all a bit too much, then the Grown Up School can help.

Run by Laura Abraham, the educational business offers over 100 free courses including how to look after your money, career, relationships and home.

Laura Abraham said:'I want to make a difference addressing the life-skills gap for young adults'


Laura Abraham said: ‘I want to make a difference addressing the life-skills gap for young adults’Credit: Supercharged

Laura, 26, said: “I was raised by a single mum in Cardiff and went straight into work after my GCSEs.

“I was inspired to set up the school after reading 87 per cent of people didn’t feel they were taught life skills before leaving full-time education.

I'm a size 22 & I'm obsessed with £18 dress, it looks expensive & I can go braless
I'm proud to be hairy…trolls say I'm vile but I don't care, I've ditched razors

“I want to make a difference addressing the life-skills gap for young adults.”


Russell Falcon

Russell Falcon is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Russell Falcon joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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