In Focus
HUMAN RESOURCES | Staff Reporter, UK
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Seeking to develop its leadership, Tortilla invests its future on internal talent

The Mexican fast casual restaurant group saw internal promotions shoot up by 15% following the launch of its new apprenticeship programme.

Finding inspiration in the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in 2017, Tortilla launched a newly developed apprenticeship programme that seeks to upskill existing employees and develop them for senior leadership positions.

Working in collaboration with Lifetime Training, which provides training, apprenticeship programmes, recruitment services and training courses for businesses in the UK, Tortilla sought to improve crew engagement and satisfaction with the new scheme.

“Before launch, 48% of crew were internally promoted to management positions and we’re now at 63%,” Tortilla’s head of people Nicki Sahota said, adding that it has become a key recruitment tool for people looking for a career in the company.

“Every supervisor we’ve enrolled has successfully completed the programme,” Sahota said. “It’s a positive indication that our crew genuinely want to upskill and progress internally.”

Focusing on developing supervisors and assistant managers in finance, leadership and operations, the programme incorporates various training modules and practical skill applications.

The new programme has also ensured the company could allocate their pre-paid Levy funds.

“If you don’t use these funds, you lose them,” Sahota said. “Luckily we managed to use all our 2017 funds before they expired, and we’re on track to use the rest of the year’s allocations as we expand the programme.”

Managing Director Richard Morris says crew satisfaction is a key priority of the business and the Apprenticeship programme has become a key driver of that.

“Tortilla is all about people,” he said. “Whether you’re a crew member rolling burritos on the line, a kitchen supervisor ensuring top-quality food production, or a manager running the show – every person hired at Tortilla is a key part of the family.”

Following the programme’s initial success, Tortilla plans to continue expanding the scheme by adding more accredited management courses and onboarding all new crew to the programme.

Currently, Tortilla has 20% of crew supervisors enrolled in the programme. In an exclusive interview with QSR Media, Megan Burton-Brown, Tortilla Head of Marketing, said they have seen an overall decrease in turnover and have had 100% retention to date.

“We had support from our partners at Lifetime Learning to develop the programme to fit in with our existing programmes. We then launched it through our in-house HR and training teams,” she said. “Everyone loves it! They've found the training modules easy to translate into their every day and they appreciate that Tortilla is investing in their personal growth and development."

She added that the programme specifically gives its crew the skills, training and confidence to move into leadership positions, helping clarify that pathway and showing its crew that “working at Tortilla isn't just a job, it can be a career”.

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