Hospitality industry charity Springboard has announced Alastair Storey as its new Chairman. He was appointed by Springboard’s Board of Trustees to take over from Stephen Moss CBE, Springboard’s Founder and Chair for the past 29 years.
The Board were keen for a high-profile industry leader to take the helm, leading Springboard into a new phase of growth and strengthening the senior team.
A Springboard Life Patron since 2010, Alastair is Chairman of WSH, the parent company for leading hospitality brands including BaxterStorey, benugo, Portico and Caterlink. A tireless champion of the industry, he has retained the accolade of most influential person in hospitality since 2012, taking the celebrated title from celebrity chef Jamie Oliver in The Caterer’s Top 100 list.
Anne Pierce, CEO of Springboard said: “We are confident that Alastair’s experience and active engagement in the hospitality industry will help Springboard achieve its ambitious goals to help young people, unemployed and disadvantaged adults into sustainable employment and careers in hospitality.”
At the same time, Springboard UK (the Charity’s trading arm) is focused on promoting the industry as a great place to work and supporting individual businesses to attract talent – and in the current climate there has never been a more critical time for this important work.
Alastair said: “Springboard provides invaluable support to our industry, attracting new talent and showcasing the endless opportunities a career in hospitality and tourism can provide.
“In these uncertain times Springboard’s mission has never been more essential. Attracting new talent is crucial to the future success of our sector, and through its work with business partners, Springboard showcases hospitality and tourism as a truly exciting sector. I am delighted to continue the fantastic work Stephen and the team have undertaken over the past 29 years.”
Alastair will build on the legacy of Stephen Moss CBE, who will move to the role of Founder and Life President. Stephen, along with other industry giants at the time such as Lord Charles Forte, built Springboard out of their combined frustration over the poor perception of the hospitality industry, the inability to attract home-grown talent and the woefully inadequate careers advice at the time.
In 1990, in the pre-internet revolution, the charity began as a drop-in Careers Centre to excite and educate young people and unemployed adults about hospitality opportunities in London. In 1997, with the appointment of Chief Executive, Anne Pierce, Springboard expanded across the UK and developed new programmes in secondary schools and for adult jobseekers and those people further away from the labour market to promote careers and encourage people into the industry. One of its flagship programmes, FutureChef, was designed to inspire young people to cook through a school cookery competition. Starting in 1999 with just 100 students participating, it is now embedded within the school curriculum and this year’s competition has engaged nearly 14,000 12 to 16 year olds with the national final taking place on Monday 18th March at Westminster Kingsway College.
Stephen Moss, said: “At this pivotal time, I am proud to look back at what our organisation has achieved. We now offer over 60,000 careers advice and guidance sessions each year, and work with over 100 businesses to address issues surrounding HR and corporate social responsibility. Alastair will bring his unrivalled expertise and experience, continuing our hard work and supporting Springboard’s growth.”
Anne Pierce, said: “I've worked with Stephen for over 22 years, and his immeasurable contribution, wisdom, tact and diplomacy and sheer passion has inspired everyone who has ever worked for and with Springboard. He’s been a hugely supportive Chairman and the team have benefited from his wisdom and celebrated many successes with him over the years.
“Now we’re at a transformational point of Springboard’s evolution. With issues facing the industry including the impact of Brexit and immigration policy, Springboard’s work is elevated to a new level of importance. We’re excited to welcome Alastair to drive our mission forward as an influential leader with ambitious goals.”
Alastair joins alongside new additions to the leadership team, new Fundraising and Marketing Director, Nikki Kelly, joined from the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, and new Finance & Resources Director, Danyanne Quemper joined from the SANDS Charity. Together with the existing team of outstanding professionals, they are driving forward an exciting programme of work to make a real difference to people’s lives and tangible support from the industry.
The Springboard Charity’s FutureChef has a new winner – 14 year-old Jessica Mitchell from Glasgow, who won the 2019 National Final on Monday.
Jessica, who attends The High School of Glasgow beat eleven other contestants for the coveted title, wowing the judges with her main of chicken breast with butternut squash, confit chicken leg and fondant potato, and an apple and frangipane tart with a vanilla pod parfait and caramelised apple for dessert.
Thrilled about her success, Jessica said, “Before FutureChef, I had thought about becoming a chef but I thought it seemed a bit scary. Working with my mentor and having the chance to work in a professional kitchen has encouraged me to pursue it as a career”.
Sue Mitchell, Jessica’s mum, was overjoyed at her daughter’s success, saying “Chuffed! An experience you could never have bought, and it has definitely cemented her wish to work in the hospitality sector. I couldn’t be prouder!”
All of the competitors have practiced tirelessly over the last year, and it showed on the day – with the young people remaining calm and collected under pressure. The decision was difficult to make, with such a high standard of cuisine presented to the judges. Jessica was followed closely by the runners up – with Ray Gardner, 15, from Woodlands School, London, coming second, and Maisie Speller, 13, Notley High School in Essex coming third.
FutureChef has been running since 1999, starting out solely as the competition. The competition consists of four rounds – or heats – in schools, local, regional and national finals. This year saw 14,352 reduced down to the 12 that took part in the final. Though the competition was a great way of getting young people involved in the culinary arts, The Springboard Charity knew it needed to do more. It was from this need that the FutureChef programme was created, a year-round education programme that seeks to educate young people in schools about food and nutrition.
Brian Turner CBE, the British chef and household name, got involved with Springboard and FutureChef from the competition’s inception. He believes the programme is vital for educating young people about nutrition and getting them into the industry.
Brian said, “there are two reasons why we need FutureChef. The first is that there isn’t nearly enough domestic science and food tech being taught today, so young people aren’t learning the basic skills of cooking that sustain their way of living. Second, it encourages people to develop their skills and enter into the industry.”
The programme is supported by multiple industry names, including the Worshipful Company of Cooks, The Savoy Educational Trust, The Hilton Hotels, Nestlé Professional, Compass Group, Sodexo, BaxterStorey, Fairfax Meadow, Delaware North, Hit training, Caterer.com and Bidfood to name a few.
The winner will be taken to the Henley Royal Regatta to work with Sodexo Executive chefs, including two nights’ hotel accommodation, afternoon tea and an evening meal. The second place runner up will receive four tickets for the 2019 Capital FM Summertime Ball in the Delaware North Box at Wembley Stadium as well as a work placement in the VIP area before the concert. Finally, the third place runner up will allow the winner and their mentor to work with a celebrity chef and the Elior development chefs to produce a fine dining event for 100 guests, courtesy of Elior.
Anne Pierce, the CEO of the Springboard Charity, said, “FutureChef supports the food curriculum in schools and provides a pipeline of culinary talent into the vibrant hospitality industry. The FutureChef competition celebrates young culinary talent and inspires them to enter the exciting expanding world of hospitality.
Growing up in North West London, Holly was like every other girl. Then, just after her 15th birthday, everything changed when she found out she was pregnant. Although she managed to hide it for the first six months, her mother soon discovered her secret – and three months later, her daughter was born. Her happiness would be short lived, however, after the pair ended up confined to a Mother and Baby Unit due to her young age, while authorities attempted to find a solution to her situation. Eight months and 25 court battles later, Holly was released - a single mother with low confidence and no qualifications, unsure of how to build the life that she and her daughter so desperately needed.
Her salvation would come from her Job Centre support worker, who referred her to The Springboard Charity. She attended a recruitment day, and signed up for the Hospitality & Bar Tending Course (Diageo Learning for Life), able to see a future working in hospitality. She sailed through the course, and her confidence grew massively by the end of the programme. Not only was she able to face her fear of interviews and gain a work placement in Hendon Hall Hotel, but the hotel were so impressed with her that she was made permanent, and remained there for two years.
Now Holly has created a life that she’s proud of, providing the ideal role model for her daughter. She’s progressed up to Service Team Leader at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms, and is no longer merely surviving – but truly living. Her future ambitions are to provide her daughter with everything she needs, and she one day dreams of opening her own hospitality establishment.