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One of the 3 pillars of our corporate responsibility programme, Good Together, is Team and Community. We recognise the importance of attracting the best people to our business and giving them opportunities to develop their skills as they work with us. Through our Team & Community programmes we aim is to make lives better for people through building skills, increasing employment opportunity and charitable giving.
As well as creating new jobs through our growth plans, we are raising the awareness of young people to the opportunities for a career in hospitality through a wide and varied programme of initiatives, for example, in conjunction with B-live Foundation, we have developed and chair a Hospitality Careers Board. Its objective is to unite employers in connecting young people with hospitality career choices, raise the sector’s profile and help build a future talent pipeline.
The B-Live secured online social networking technology gives us the opportunity to engage with young people aged between 11-19 years old.
Our Hotels and Restaurants business has just launched a two week-long Work Inspirations pilot programme aimed at 14-16 year olds, offering 60 placements in 2012. The programme will give young people an insight into management within the hospitality industry and the potential career pathways within our business.
Another initiative not only made a real difference to the work confidence of 12 young people but also gave our team members the opportunity to develop their mentoring skills. In partnership with the Princes Trust a “Get Into Hospitality “ programme was supported by six of our West Midland sites in 2011.The young participants gained invaluable work experience and the opportunity to gain nationally recognised food safety and health & safety qualifications. Four have taken up a permanent positions and offered places on our Intermediate Apprenticeship programme.
Whitbread recently worked alongside the Job Centre Plus to host a Sector Based Work Academy. This takes unemployed individuals from a local area, provides them with a nationally recognised qualification, allows them to experience a work placement in the chosen industry and guarantees interviews with companies in that sector. Whitbread hosted 16 individuals on the programme at our Food & Beverage Skills Academy (PDF, 72 kB). Of these, three chose Whitbread as the company they wanted to work with and so far we have employed four people permanently with the possibility of another two.
Whitbread, in partnership with Job Centre Plus, will provide a trial work placement scheme. The participant will be given real experience to help them enter the workplace. This is far removed from work experience that just involves menial tasks and does very little to enhance job prospects. Whitbread have designed a 2 week placement that gives a genuine insight into a hospitality career and provides a management reference to strengthen employment prospects. The trial will be run by 25 businesses in the Midlands who, in two months, will host 50 work placements.
A key objective being championed by our hotel and restaurants business is to allocate 50 per cent of jobs in a new site opening to local unemployed people. In other words, filling these first entry roles with the long term unemployed or those 16-24 year olds not in education, employment or training (NEETS).
Our Good Together Community Programme has the interests of young people at its heart. In today’s tough financial climate we know there are students who have the ability but cannot afford university fees. We work with notgoingtouni.co.uk to help those young people who cannot further their academic education to gain training and a worthwhile career. After all, it stands to reason that the hospitality sector should lead the way in giving the warmest of all welcomes to our nation’s young people.