From education to employment

Project aims to get at least 70 people into employment by end of 2008

Hackney Community College, in partnership with the charity “Training for Life”, WALTZ (Work and Apprenticeships for the London Tourism sector) and the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, is launching the “HOST” project in a bid to employ at least 70 Hackney people in the hospitality industry by the end of 2008.

Team Hackney, Hackney’s strategic partnership that aims at improving the quality of life for everyone in the borough, has funded £400,000 to the employment initiative in order to equip the local residents with necessary skills for a long-term and successful career in the hospitality sector.

At a star-studded, official launch of the project in London, the Mayor of Hackney, Jules Pipe, who is also chairing the strategic partnership programme, pointed out that employers need people with new and different skills. The jobs are out there; so are the people, but they do not just come together in a package. This is when projects like the “HOST”, which mainly focuses on employing youths between 18 and 24, lone parents and adults who have been living off benefits for 6months and above, becomes indispensable to the community.

Supporting the necessity of the likes of “HOST”, world renowned Chef Anton Edelman said, “I”ve worked in this industry for 40 years and I”ve always been crying out for staff. It’s very important that we support this kind of idea.”

Ian Ashman introduced the “HOST” project, also supported by the Sector Skills Council for the hospitality industry ““ People 1st. According to him, the project aims to skill people through a practically-based “fast track” option that provides personal development, food hygiene certificate and skills for life, a 20-week college-based modular programme leading to an NVQ level 1 and13 weeks of subsidised employment as an apprentice in restaurants like the Hoxton Apprentice and Zen Satori.

He added that participants will also receive help with producing a personal plan of action to secure and sustain a job, a personal coach to support them through the programme and for the first three months of their employment, access to benefit advice, child care, housing advice, debt counselling and support with language, literacy and numeracy. Finally they will get help with moving into employment with a responsible employer committed to supporting continuing professional and vocational qualifications.

Gordon D”Silva, Chief Executive of Training for Life, an enterprising charity that helps unprivileged people make positive changes to their lives, said that this partnership brings together key agencies, working closely with a dynamic Borough that aims at improving the lives of Hackney locals.

Lorraine Lawson, project director of WALTZ, a London based organisation that helps people find jobs in hospitality and tourism, said: “WALTZ is delighted to extend its success, in helping young people find jobs, into Hackney.”

Nigel Littlewood, project manager of WSET, the largest global provider of education in wines and spirits, added, “This partnership has an excellent understanding of the industry so the training truly meets its demands, and job opportunities are very real.”

Rinku Chatterjee“

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