From Custody to High Society

Three Access to Industry Students have experienced the high-end catering industry thanks to a Springboard Trust initiative.

Three Access to Industry Students have experienced the high-end catering industry thanks to a Springboard Trust initiative.

Recently Access to Industry was approached by SPS to encourage students to take up an opportunity to work in the hotel/ restaurant business. The initiative was called the Galvin’s Chance and was facilitated by the Springboard Trust. The opportunity was opened to other agencies across the City of Edinburgh including ‘looked after’ providers and other youth agencies.

We approached this venture full steam ahead as we had been informed that the Springboard Trust was interested in offering this chance to students with criminal records. We encouraged six individuals to attend a group interview with the main contact from Springboard who came to our Cowgate office to meet them.

This was a successful intervention and an offer was made to five participants from across the city. Out of the five, three came from Access to Industry. They were given the chance to learn new skills working in high-end hotels/restaurants with the chance of progressing into a work placement then onto full-time employment.

All three students from Access to Industry had previously worked with caseworkers in their respective prisons/ young offender institutions and had built up quality relationships and respect; they therefore understood that they were representing themselves and the organisation. This was a potential opportunity to shine and promote other chances for a larger number of ex offenders.

All three students rose to the occasion: stepping up to the bar, they successfully completed the four-week training package and progressed onto two-week work placements. The three students were given placements in Hotel du Vin and the Bonham, which are of high stature within the industry.

One of the participants has since secured full-time post in the kitchen of a large city centre hotel, is still in touch with us and is doing well. Another is still supported by his caseworker and has now decided to pursue one of our access courses at Edinburgh College.

This exciting initiative has given us the opportunity to develop a greater relationship with the Springboard Trust and offers the potential for future ventures for our students who have criminal records or come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The real success behind this story lies with the collaborative work that was carried out, the “stickability” of the individual students, the partnership work and the reputation of our organisation within the wider community. This opportunity was brought to our attention as stated above via the SPS. They chose Access to Industry due to their understanding of and belief in the work we carry out.

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