Catering for over 500 hungry soldiers in any one meal sitting is a test for any chef, and for apprentice Keenan James it’s challenges like this that offer great work experience.

Apprentice chef Keenan, 18, is part of the catering team at Sodexo’s Infantry Battle School contract in Brecon, and has been honing his skills on site for the past 18 months.

Keenan has grasped the chance to get practical experience, while studying for an NVQ funded by the Welsh Assembly. “I have found it a useful way to develop and get professional training,” he says. “It’s a good environment to learn in.”

Service manager Steve Whiting says that bringing local youngsters into the team helps them to feel confident from day one. “It’s good to get them straight in there working with the chefs and they have to prove themselves to be responsive and reliable,” says Steve.

Keenan’s days are spent assisting the chefs with food preparation for Sodexo’s man HUB dining room, plus food for special functions in the military messes. He’s recently been working across the HUB’s deli bar, preparing made-to-order salads and sandwiches. He’s also enjoying experimenting with different cuisines and confesses he’s developed a bit of a passion for Italian food, which could prove invaluable when cooking for carb-hungry soldiers!