Social enterprise The Employability Trust is giving young people a chance to spice up their skillset and crack the job market by working with chain chicken restaurant Nando’s.
Nando’s teamed up with The Employability Trust as well as Hill Cross Furniture to allow the firms to provide refurbishment and cleaning of external furniture for 74 sites last year.
A total of 190 young people have been given a pathway into sustainable employment through the partnership. And the blossoming relationship has now seen the external cleaning programme progress to a total of 175 restaurants throughout the UK, meaning 3,646 chairs and 1,326 tables have been refurbished. The project has secured the jobs of three people at the north east England-based trust while also allowing a further five roles to be added to their workforce, which now totals 17 people.
Bill Marley, Employability Trust chief executive and founder, said: “We take out that first stage of the recruitment process – the interview – you only have to prove to us that you are willing to work and we will support you to gain sustainable employment.
“And we put the time in too – we typically work with people for 12 weeks but we will work for people for as long as it takes to gain the skills and attitudes needed to secure sustainable employment.
“We worked for approximately six months with one man, David Birt, he had severe eczema and was housebound for three years but we worked with him and slowly improved his confidence, communication and self-esteem. Now he is in full-time employment.
“And it is not just young people – we also helped a 43-year-old man get his first-ever job inside five months.”
In total, more than 92,000 people have sold The Big Issue since 1991 to help themselves work their way out of poverty – more than could fit into Wembley Stadium.
The Employability Trust was tasked with delivering the project by Mother’s Day and even braved the extreme weather to hit the deadline last Sunday. With the shipping date approaching, workers braved the freezing conditions and heavy snow to ensure that the contract was fulfilled according to Marley.
“All of the businesses around the business parks where are our organisation is located were closed due to the snow,” he said. “But our people walked in to ensure that we could remain open in order to fulfil the Nando’s contract on time.
“They even met lorries on the main road to offload them into our van as the lorries could not access our premises. So while international companies were closed, our staff were walking five or six miles in blizzards to meet customer demand.
“What we have created is a business that could work anywhere in the world. We’re an organisation that is a bit different – we put people over profit and the only criteria is that you can show that you want to work.”
Hill Cross Furniture managing director Richard Barker added: “Bill and his team are our most trusted partners, we are working together on a daily basis and we know we can expand our own business by utilising the skills and enthusiasm of The Employability Trust.
“We work with clients from around the world and we always tell them about this amazing group of people we work with. I want to see the ‘Trust’ with a hub in every country – this would be a great result for all Bill’s hard work and commitment.”