Norwich hospitality employers lead the way

2016-07-22 09:50:56 | Uncategorized

Last Wednesday 13th July marked the end of this year’s Hospitality pre-employment project at MINT. Eight young people, passionate about careers in hospitality, catering, and leisure, joined the twelve week project in April. They committed to attending a workshop day with job coaches Chelsea and Mark every Monday, and attending a ten week work placement for two days a week with a range of supportive employers. These employers were:

  • Cuba De Revolucion
  • Norwich Castle Museum Café
  • Norse Catering at County Hall
  • Norse Catering at Bowthorpe Care Village
  • Caterlink at City College Norwich
  • Mercure Hotel

They all offered our young people the chance to experience work in a variety of contexts within the hospitality industry. Cuba De Revolucion offered bar and food service experience in a really busy environment, and then offered the two students trials for paid employment. Both students accepted and did so well on a daunting and incredibly busy shift, but realised that this wasn’t quite the right thing for them at the moment. This was Cuba’s first work with MINT and they have been amazing – we hope to continue our work with them on the next project and beyond!IMG_20160620_120230

Norse have been as supportive as ever, with students in two very different environments having very successful experiences that have raised their confidence and developed their skills ready for paid roles as they continue their work with their job coaches after the course.

Norwich Castle Café Museum joined us for their second year with the project, supporting one young person in getting a variety of experience between front and back of house roles.

Mercure Hotel are a long-standing supportive employer for MINT. They took two young people, and gave them the opportunity to experience working with the Food & Beverage, Housekeeping, and Conference & Events teams. The young people showed incredible enthusiasm, volunteering to work additional shifts to experience extra aspects of the business in the evenings at the hotel’s ticketed events. This really paid off, as both young people placed here have now moved into permanent paid employment – one of whom into a job created for them by the hotel! Mercure recognised something in this young person and wanted to keep them with the business, creating a role for them that spans all the departments involved in their placement!

Last but by no means least, Caterlink at CCN offered one young person experience in their main kitchen at the college and also in the on-site Starbucks café. This allowed the young person to experience many aspects of hospitality: food preparation, kitchen portering, customer service and barista coffee-making to name but a few.

An enormous thank you on behalf of MINT to all the employers who participated and all the young people for whom you have created opportunities – you have provided a vital stepping stone for these young people on their journey into paid employment.

Besides the work placements, the young people engaged in a broad variety of activities in the workshop sessions designed to better prepare them for working life. We had sessions on budgeting and finance, job searching and completing applications and several others delivered by job coaches Mark and Chelsea. However, the real highlights were the numerous visits and guests that contributed to the project. The young people completed a Level 2 Food Safety course, a staple qualification in the industry that all employers look for. They also attended an interview skills and mock interview day delivered by Barclays which gave them invaluable experience and tips on how to give great job interviews. We worked with Debut Restaurant and the excellent Allen George (Restaurant Manager and Lecturer) too to allow our young people access to the industry and to experience the quality front of house training that they offer. Lastly, we had a guest speaker from a previous project. Allen Kemp, an ex-student and completer of a previous Hospitality Pre-Employment project came in to share his journey with the group. Since completing the project Allen has gone on to complete a Level 2 Apprenticeship in Hospitality Services with Caterlink, and is now an integral part of their kitchen team at CCN. Allen is now the Acting Kitchen Manager when the full time Kitchen Manager is absent. The group found Allen’s story inspirational, and we thank him for his contribution.

All in all this was an enormously successful project. Three of the eight young people that started the project are now in paid employment, and we are confident that more outcomes are just around the corner – here’s to next year and the next project!

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