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Catering for the disadvantaged

20 June 2012

Talkington Bates has linked up with the industry charity, Springboard, to launch an innovative programme that will give disadvantaged people the chance to learn job skills working as part of its contract catering team.

The pioneering “Talking Voyage” scheme will provide a quality programme of structured work experience for people who are often excluded from the jobs market because of their personal circumstances, backgrounds or lifestyle.

The new Business Partnership between Talkington Bates and the charity will give them the chance to learn job skills at sites operated by the independent contract caterer around the country – and some will eventually earn full or part-time positions within the company.

A series of “Talking Opportunity” days will be staged in the months ahead around the country to give people the chance to find out more about the scheme and get involved.

Fiona Hopkinson, Managing Director, Talkington Bates Midlands & Care, said: “This is our way of working with Springboard to give something back to the industry – and society as a whole – through a programme that provides the chance for people to learn the skills they need for a career in catering. Our vision is to get all Talkington Bates sites involved in some way, with the aim of putting 35 people through the programme.

“This scheme is designed to give an opportunity to some groups in society who are marginalised because of their circumstances or simply because they face one or more barriers to work. This includes the homeless, people who are disabled, those with learning difficulties, ex-offenders and those who come from several generations of unemployment so have little knowledge of the way the jobs market works.

“We want to give them the chance to earn a place on a work experience programme which could lead to possible employment at one of our locations. The chance to learn catering skills could make a major difference to their lives and give them the inspiration to seek out employment.

“Every person should be entitled to a job – but some are excluded because of personal circumstances beyond their control. We are trying to reach out to these people and give them an incentive to get back into employment.

“Some have untapped potential but have never been given the chance to show it. We want to give them the opportunity to prove what they can achieve in a real-life working situation and give them a way of turning their lives around.”

Anne Pierce, CEO of Springboard, said: “We are delighted to be working with Talkington Bates on this innovative project which will provide a practical way for people to learn catering skills and embark on a voyage which will lead them out of long-term unemployment and into work in such a forward thinking company. It is admirable that Talkington Bates has made such a wonderful commitment to helping disadvantaged people in this way through inspiring them to get into the jobs market.”

The programme will incorporate the Springboard INSPIRE quality standard kitemark which was developed to meet the need to attract new talent to the industry. “Research shows that the biggest influence on career choice is work experience – so ‘Talking Voyage’ has been developed to give jobless people the chance to experience catering first-hand and make them aware of the many opportunities that are out there.”

The first “Talking Opportunity” days have already taken place but further dates will be announced.

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