Springboard Blog

National Waiters' Day returns!

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Celebrate the UK’s food and beverage service workers, at National Waiters’ Day 2018.

National Waiters’ Day is a national campaign, held in Hyde Park on the 16th of May, which highlights the dedication, skill and hard work of those within Food and Beverage service roles. Now in its sixth year, the event was founded by Fred Sirieix (General Manager at Galvin at Windows at the London Hilton on Park Lane, and host of First Dates), and is organised by the Springboard Charity.

The day will include a careers fair, with businesses from around London coming together to meet up to 500 enthusiastic jobseekers and students – with stand holders including IHG, CH&Co, the Ivy and more. These businesses will showcase their job vacancies and network with jobseekers – showing them just how rewarding a career in hospitality can be. 

National Waiters’ Day will also feature a 100m dash across the park, led by Fred Sirieix, with companies from across the UK bringing staff to compete – all for the chance to win an exciting prize, and be crowned the National Waiters’ Day race champions.

Businesses from across the UK will also hold National Waiters’ Day events. From Cornwall to Edinburgh, businesses will host taster days, races and talks, which they are encouraged to share on social media. Make sure to connect with Springboard on the official Twitter - @WaitersDay_UK – and follow the hashtag #NationalWaitersDay, to keep up to date on the latest news. 

Anne Pierce, Springboard CEO, said: “National Waiters’ Day celebrates the skill and professionalism of the people who enjoy successful careers in food and drinks service in all spheres of the hospitality industry – from your local baristas to waiting staff in fine-dining restaurants, from bartenders to Maître D’s and from mixologists to Sommeliers. The day showcases the expertise, dexterity, flair and sheer fun involved in the sector, raising the profile and value of these fulfilling careers. What’s more, the experience of working as a waiter or waitress – for however long or short – will stand you in good stead for life.”

Fred Sirieix, who founded the campaign, said, “In 2012 I launched National Waiters’ Day, I am very excited today to be here and celebrate the fantastic array of careers available in hospitality. I feel proud to lead such an important day, and hope it leads to a lasting appreciation of the UK’s hospitality workers.”

Neil Pattison, Sales Director of Caterer.com, a National Waiters’ Day sponsor, said, “Caterer.com back National Waiter’s Day because hospitality businesses are nothing without their skilled and dedicated food and drinks service staff. We want to help celebrate those employees, and showcase wonderful careers in the sector with some outstanding employers. 

“This event is a fun-filled celebration of the people who bring a smile to customers every day through great service. Our Caterer.com team are looking forward to racing with them in Hyde Park.”

To host a stand at National Waiters’ Day, or to bring your team to the race, head to www.nationalwaitersday.com.

Pavlo raises £4,100 for Springboard in London Marathon

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                            Pavlo with his medal, after completing the race in 4:15h.

At Springboard, we’re fortunate – and grateful – for the support we receive from not only businesses, but also from individuals across the UK. Last Sunday, Pavlo Poluektov (General Manager of BaxterStorey) ran the London Marathon in aid of Springboard, raising an incredible £4,100 – completing the race in an impressive 4:15h – non-stop!

We spoke to Pavlo about what drove him to compete in the London Marathon, and why he chose to support Springboard – more than doubling his original fundraising goal of £2,000!

What inspired you to run a marathon in the first place?

"The thing about marathons is that they are psychologically and physically tough – but that’s also part of what makes them such incredible experiences. You can’t just turn up to run the race, or bluff your way through it. You have to work seriously hard, and dig deep physically and mentally, if you are going to complete it. You have to earn the right to be called a marathon runner – that’s what makes it so special. Whatever happens in your life, from the moment you cross the finish line, you will have always run a marathon - it is yours forever."

What made you choose the London Marathon? 

"I’ve always admired those who have completed the London Marathon. I’m fortunate to have known a few people close to my heart, who have done it for various charities and for various reasons. Think about it – what other major sporting event can you compete in, where the top athletes of their field, are taking part alongside first time runners? Okay, you may not be running alongside them – or if you do, it won’t be for long – but you are taking part on the same day, the same course, the same distance and under the same conditions as they are. That is quite something. 

"So, while in Nepal in March 2017 on a charity trek, I was talking to Anne Pierce (the CEO of The Springboard Charity) and she asked me what would be my next life challenge or project. I replied, 'maybe, one day, the London Marathon'. Anne then said, 'I may grant your wish – let’s wait till we get back to London'. Soon afterward, I learnt from Anne that I had a place to run the London Marathon 2018, on behalf of the charity – the first time in history of the Springboard. I am the first one!"

What made you want to support the Springboard Charity?

"Having reached my 40th year – a big mile stone – I strongly felt that, in order to go further and do better, that I wanted to contribute more to the world – share my skills, my knowledge, and what I’ve learnt with people, especially those less fortunate than I am. With this in mind, I entered a competition with my employer, BaxterStorey in October 2016, and won a place on a charity trek in Nepal in March 2017 – organized by The Springboard Charity. Through various fundraising activities, I raised close to £5000 for Springboard on that particular occasion. Having seen first-hand to what difference the Charity makes in people’s lives, I want to stay on board and assist further."

If you’ve been inspired by Pavlo, and would like to fundraise for us in the future, then please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Importance of a Mentor

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As a programme manager, I facilitate a number of different Springboard Programmes. I love all of them, but one that has resonated with me the most is the GEMS (Graduate Education Mentoring Scheme) Programme. I finished my degree in 2014, and quite frankly, it was one of the proudest moments of my life. For personal reasons, completing my degree seemed like an impossible challenge; and my dissertation … well, there were a lot of late nights, sat up typing with a can of energy juice only fingertips away (I do not advise this method, if it can be avoided!). 

Throughout my degree, there were many people I could ask for advice; my mum, my employers, my lecturers and other students. More often than not, my questions would lead to more questions that no one else could answer. I completed lots of work experience throughout my degree, for a range of different companies. I did a lot of networking – made lots of acquaintances and many connections on LinkedIn – but I never really had one person to whom I could ask the ‘daft’ or obscure questions.  Nor did I have someone challenge me as to why I was undertaking sporting event work experience when I didn’t have (and still do not have) any interest in sport.

I am incredibly lucky to have the support network that I now have – but at that point, I never had one person who I could call a mentor. Then I moved down south, and started working at the Royal Oak.  My mentors at the Royal Oak nurtured my professionalism, taught me about the industry and both supported – and questioned – my ideas, ensuring I knew what I was doing before I finalised any decision. 

Many of the students undertaking a hospitality degree don’t follow their degree into the industry, instead choosing to go elsewhere. Hospitality is full to the brim of interesting and talented people from all over the world, with many different stories to tell. Sometimes I think the stereotypes that hospitality have gained over the years masks the greatness of the industry! 

By matching undergraduates to some of our industry leaders, those stories and experiences can be shared - inspiring a whole new generation. The big bad world is a scary place for most people, and for those completing degrees the world becomes their oyster. This newfound freedom can bring uncertainty, fear and anxiety – but a mentor can guide, answer questions, and support you in those new situations. I know that if I had had an industry mentor early on in my degree I would’ve taken on more relevant work experience and perhaps found where my skills lie a little earlier in life.

And mentoring is a two-way street. Mentors mixing with a student who is perhaps 20 years their junior will be shown new ways of thinking too. In addition, it will provide a new focus for their career, and someone to inspire, who will love to hear their stories. 

The GEMS programme is amazing and I am sure that the students we support through this will do great things. However, I know Springboard would love to support even more – and that’s why we need you. Whether you are a student, a lecturer, a friend, or an industry leader. If you can think of someone that could benefit from this programme, please ask them to get in touch with us – because we would love to help them! https://charity.springboard.uk.net/programmes-activities/springboard-gems