It has linked with The Clink Charity which delivers City & Guilds accredited training in Food Preparation and Cookery within existing prison kitchens.
The Clink works with 180 employers from pubs, hotels and fine dining restaurants willing to employ a Clink “graduate” subject to a satisfactory interview upon release from prison.
Candidates work a minimum of 30 hours a week at the pilot projects running at four training restaurants at four prisons across the country with the aim of them gaining employment as chefs upon release.
Gemma Slater, marketing manager, at The Clink Restaurant, said: “We have the capacity to train up to 200 prisoners across all our training sites every day.”
The training restaurants at HMP High Down in Sutton, Surrey; HMP Cardiff, Wales; HMP Brixton, south London and HMP Styal in Wilmslow, Cheshire, are open to the public.
It also has a café in the Grade II listed Canada House owned by Kinrise, in Manchester, three kitchens, two gardens and an events catering business.
Slater said she did not have a specific figure for how many Ei Group expected to hire. “Our focus is mainly on how the Ei Group can help and support us with enabling graduates into employment and ultimately reducing reoffending.
Ei Group chief executive Simon Townsend said the results the charity had achieved through its training programmes were impressive.
“As a business we are committed to promoting pubs and the wider hospitality sector as a career of choice and changing perceptions about the life-long opportunities from bar to boardroom our industry offers.
“Our new partnership with The Clink offers us a great avenue to progress that aim and make a difference.”
Christopher Moore, The Clink Charity’s chief executive, said: “We want to expand our training projects further and by partnering with Ei Group we will be able to raise awareness of our work in reducing reoffending and support the hospitality industry, which has a major skills shortage. Overall, we’ll be working together to change attitudes, transform lives, create second chances and make society a safer place.”
The Clink has trained and supported 1,800 graduates into jobs since it began rehabilitating prisoners in 2009.
The training takes place in the restaurants where students work towards gaining their accredited City & Guilds National Vocational Qualifications in Food & Beverage Service and Professional Cookery.
Training also takes place outside of prison through Clink Events, the events catering business, where graduates work alongside homeless clients from the Centrepoint charity.
Its events team is in demand all over London at venues including the Guildhall and Bakers Hall where it is one of the accredited caterers.