Talking business over tea

Talking business over tea


For Liam Richmond, manager and owner of Rudyards tea house, an apprentice has been the perfect solution to helping his fledgling business thrive.

The modern tea house in Beeston first opened in August 2016 and now has four members of staff, one of which is 18-year-old Connor Fitzgerald who started an Apprenticeship in Hospitality Services in September last year.

Liam explains: “After spending seven years in the healthcare industry I decided to sell up and travel to South East Asia where I developed, not only a passion for life, but also a love of tea! With this I launched Rudyards and haven’t looked back since. The ethos behind my business is all about being community spirited and passing on my knowledge to people who will hopefully benefit from it. 

“We stock a variety of ethical, high-end luxury teas, ranging from Russian Earl Grey, Quarrier’s Dream and Irish Breakfast to Egyptian Camomile, Gunpowder Mint, Chantilly Cream White Tea and Mocha Chai. As well as this, we offer a range of coffees and freshly-made cakes for our customers to sit and enjoy.

“As a newly-established business, budget is tight so we’ve had to think smartly about the way we grow and expand the shop. I believe employing an apprentice was the best decision I could have made; not only have I got an excellent addition to my team who is willing and enthusiastic to learn new things, but taking on an apprentice is also a fantastic way of giving something back. Sharing my skills and experience with somebody on the first steps of their career ladder is a great feeling.

“Connor spends 90% of the working week with myself, learning anything from the quality of tea and the health benefits, to serving and advising customers. He’s come such a long way since he first started with us; turning from a shy, reserved young man into a confident and assertive member of staff who is excellent with our customers. 

“I would definitely recommend an apprentice to an employer considering their options. The benefits are fantastic and the time I put in is far outweighed by the hard work and effort shown by my apprentice.”

Connor knew he’d like to work in the hospitality industry from a young age but the academic route wasn’t for him. He explains: “Learning in a classroom environment has never really been my strong point; I tend to pick things up much quicker if I can do something in a practical way, and that’s why I chose to do an Apprenticeship.

“My role is varied which is great because I’m always developing new skills. I remember feeling nervous about speaking to customers when I first started, but my confidence has grown so much that now it’s one of the best parts about my job. Meeting new people is great and also building relationships with our regular customers and advising them about our products is really fun.

“One day I’d love to progress to a managerial role. It’s so inspiring to see what Liam has achieved, and he’s given me the self-belief that I can reach my full potential and progress within the industry if I continue to work hard.”

To find out more about Apprenticeships at ncn click here.

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