Fourteen of the 18 hospitality hopefuls who enrolled on the training programme last year graduated and were honoured at a special awards ceremony at Galvin at Windows restaurant and bar yesterday.
A partnership between Hilton in the Community and Springboard, Galvin’s Chance is the brainchild of Galvin at Windows general manager Fred Sirieix, who saw it as an ideal way to secure future talent for the industry while also giving young people who may not have had the best start in life, a job.
He said: “I live in Peckham where I saw a lot of children and young people getting involved in crime. I had a good childhood with opportunities and a start in life that I realised that other people didn’t have. They needed a chance and we were crying out for staff in the restaurant so it was an opportunity to put two and two together.”
Now in its fourth year, Galvin’s Chance has helped many young people aged between 18 and 24 complete a two-week pre-employment training programme before taking on a work placement at a London restaurant or hospitality business. Participating businesses include Galvin Restaurants, Hilton Worldwide, The Royal Automobile Club, Harrods, Park Plaza, Harbour and Jones and Montague on the Gardens.
While the charitable programme has only run in London so far, there are plans to introduce the scheme to Edinburgh with the opening of the Galvin restaurants at the Caledonian Waldorf Astoria hotel later this year.
All 14 graduates of this year's programme have been offered paid employment following completion of their placements. One, Ola Adeneji,who was introduced to the scheme through the probation service, is now working at private members’ club The Royal Automobile Club as a waiter.
He said: “Galvin’s Chance has changed my life for the better. I am enjoying my job and am really proud to have passed my apprenticeship. It was hard work but has been worth it."
Galvin's Chance is a charitable scheme. Next week 24 members of the industry will swap plates for punches by competing in a boxing tournament called Rumble in the Kitchen in a bid to raise funds for the charity.