The hotel, which has been running the scheme in partnership with east London homelessness charity Providence Row for the last two years, picked up the Social Inclusion award at the awards ceremony in London on 2 October after impressing judges with its work in providing training to the city's so-called 'Lost Apprentices'.
‘Lost Apprentices’ are what the City of London Corporation calls individuals who, perhaps without the support of businesses, would be lost to our society due their challenging circumstances.
Having started donating towels and toiletries to the charity in 2009, the Andaz Liverpool Street went on to run workshops in its kitchens before offering work placements with a formal recruitment process to give real-life employment experience to trainees.
In the last two years 24 out of 31 people have completed the scheme with five of them moving into paid employment, four into accredited training and six into further volunteering.
One trainee - Majdop Sadiq had been homeless for over a year after fleeing persecution in Darfur, Sudan and was seriously ill with tuberculosis when Providence Row found him. After completing the training scheme, he volunteered at Providence Row and has since begun a work placement at the Andaz Hotel.
He said: “I love cooking and Providence Row offered me the opportunity to be one of the volunteer staff in the kitchen. Through them, I’ve met many professional chefs and improved my catering skills. In the future I’d love to work as a chef.”
The Andaz Liverpool Street Hotel was one of seven small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the City to receive a Dragon Award for their Corporate Social Responsibility Programmes.
Established 26 years ago, the Dragon Awards are the longest running awards that recognise excellence in corporate community engagement programmes.
“Much can be learnt from this year’s SME winners in how they have successfully engaged with unskilled and unemployed people, to spearhead the search for London’s ‘Lost Apprentices’,” said The Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman Roger Gifford.
“From staff flexibility to having a personal, hands-on approach and being inherently more integrated within their local community, SMEs are playing an increasingly important role in delivering a variety of apprenticeship schemes to their local communities. But we need more companies of all sizes to become involved to find additional ‘Lost Apprentices’, to minimise any negative impact on young peoples’ prospects and maximise the talent pool available to London businesses.”