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Employing the unemployable: how the events catering industry can help solve unemployment

Miranda Hart for Spear

Spear Ambassador Miranda Hart

Getting the “unemployable” employed

The very current issue of long term and youth unemployment in the UK is high on the agenda of Corporate Social Responsibility at Party Ingredients. In August 2012, the number of job seekers nationwide who could start within a fortnight stood at 2.53 million, with 377,000 of these living in London. Although these people are actively looking to work and ready to start, they are struggling to find even entry-level roles, especially if they are from troubled backgrounds.

Newspapers, universities and charities constantly campaign to make companies aware of how to help those deemed as unemployable. The Evening Standard launched the hugely successful Ladder for London to appeal to companies such as Sainsbury’s to take on apprentices, while the Telegraph ran a national essay competition on how to solve youth unemployment, with a £10,000 cash prize for the best ideas.

What can the events catering industry do to solve youth unemployment?

Party Ingredients believe the event industry is an ideal platform for returning to work since neither the strict 9 to 5 work routine applies nor are university degrees essential. Our schedule is shift-based and events are of all sizes, for all social groups and in all locations, offering maximum flexibility for our staff body. A high number of jobseekers lack qualifications, denting their employability in other industries, so Party Ingredients takes the initiative to offer NVQs in house so that staff can go on to work elsewhere with a recognisable skillset.

We have worked with charities to support this cause. Training for Life is a Hoxton-based charity that since 1995, has introduced thousands of “unemployable” people to work within the hospitality industry through apprenticeships. In the past 12 months six chefs have had paid work  with us in our HQ kitchens and out at events through Training for Life  as part of their apprenticeship scheme. Some even worked at our prestigious Jubilee event at Guildhall in June. These apprentices then went on to find jobs, with the ability to tell employers, “1. This is what I’m good at. 2. This is what I want to do. 3. This is how I can help your company.” As a result of these “field days”, we now employ a chef who completed his apprenticeship as part of our full time brigade.

Sadly, Training for Life went into administration last week which is a massive blow for jobseekers and employers, like Party Ingredients, who had faith in the cause.

We turn to Spear... 

The charity Spear is a Hammersmith based intensive six-week course to get 16-24 year-olds onto the career ladder. It has proven to be highly successful with 75% of Spear graduates achieving full-time employment within a year of finishing the course. Comedienne Miranda Hart became patron of the charity earlier this year and said, “I wanted to work with a charity that supports young people and makes my heart skip. That’s why I chose Spear.

Party Ingredients were asked to cater at Spear’s charity fundraising dinner this Friday at St Paul’s Church in Hammersmith. We are delighted to be involved with this great cause and are looking forward to proving the unemployable can be employed, one chef at a time and help as many as possible to get their foot in the door of the working world via the hospitality window.

Party Ingredients Hoxton Apprentices

Hoxton Apprentices at Guildhall with Party Ingredients earlier this year.