Michelin-starred chef Marcus Wareing, 51, has warned the UK might need to fill Brexit-related vacancies by pushing to “bring back” practical vocational subjects at school. Speaking to The i, Mr Wareing said: “We rely on our EU community to support us and to prop us up.
“Now that’s all closed, I see in my industry, that’s an absolute game-changer.”
The MasterChef judge, who joined the BBC show in 2014, added: “My industry right now is suffering like it’s never suffered before.
“Because we’ve closed the door on our friends next door and they’re not coming over here any more.
“I’ve never, ever seen a staff shortage like I’m seeing right now in hospitality, and to be honest with you, it’s actually quite scary and I’m really worried.”
But Mr Wareing wasn’t completely downhearted.
The Southport-born chef, who started out working alongside Gordon Ramsay, said: “There’s plenty of work – what we need to do is set our schools on fire with energy and vibrancy, and get our young people thinking about what’s great about this island that we live on, and make it great again.
In an attempt to achieve this, Mr Wareing suggested schools should promote non-academic routes into work.
He said: “I just don’t think schools sell my industry well enough, because they don’t know enough about [it].
“It is a place of opportunity, where you can express yourself, you can be who you are.
“If you go and do your A-levels and you don’t go to university, that’s fine.
“There’s nothing wrong with that, but some of the schools that I know, it’s all about how many kids we can get into university, it’s all about the grades.”
According to a research report on subject and course choices in English schools, home economics was listed in last place when it came to young people’s least favourite subjects at school.
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However, it also lagged at the lower end of the table when it came to young people’s favourite subjects – ahead of only religious studies.
Speaking about his own memories of cooking classes in school, the Masterchef judge said: “When I was at school my home economics class was just awesome. It was one of the best, most enjoyable classes I ever went to.
“I didn’t know at that age that I was going to be a chef. It was just diverse, fun, you made something to take home to show your family.
“There’s a real sense of satisfaction which I really enjoyed – as I did with metalwork and woodwork – those types of things taught in secondary school that you don’t really see in modern education.”
Mr Wareing said that vocational subjects “need to come back”, because “it is those industries that are crying out for people”.