Springboard Blog


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Springboard are delighted to announce a number of exciting developments in our work around the supported employment of disabled people.

With recruitment of hospitality staff being a major challenge at this time, especially in the face of forecasted Brexit uncertainty, it has never been more important to diversify and explore new talent pools.

Challenges in securing jobs: research by Opinium found that disabled people have to apply for 60% more jobs than non-disabled people before they are successful; and one in 5 employers told researchers they would be less likely to employ a disabled person.

It is a shocking fact that disabled people are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as non-disabled people. Springboard’s mission is to promote the hospitality industry as a great place to develop a career, whilst making a difference to people’s lives. Having a fresh focus on disability employment support allows us to achieve both of these goals – by supporting and promoting our partners efforts to provide more accessibility and equality to the disabled workforce, we’re widening the pool of potential recruits into hospitality whilst helping those with barriers to employment find meaningful & sustainable careers.

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Springboard, working closely with the Department for Work and Pensions, were recently validated as a Disability Confident Leader – this demonstrates our commitment to leading the way in becoming disability confident, inspiring other businesses to do the same. If your organisation is interested in becoming disability confident then don’t hesitate to get in touch: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Springboard are also delighted to announce our new partnership with Bespoke Hotels, who believe in a world that’s accessible for all, paving the way with the ‘Blue Badge Access Awards’. Bespoke Hotel’s considerations extend far beyond physical planning, all the way through to ensuring their staff are confident and educated on issues around disability, thereby able to anticipate guests’ needs and ensure they don’t feel self-conscious or excluded. 


The mental wellbeing of the hospitality workforce is another serious issue. Delving into the wellbeing of hospitality workers, with a focus on mental health, The Royal Society for Public Health and The Springboard Charity want to raise awareness of the struggles faced by employees in this sector, and encourage employers to proactively consider how to look after mental health in the workplace. We will be holding a panel discussion with experts discussing best practice around mental health and wellbeing and what the hospitality sector can learn from the wider business world. Follow this link to register to attend: Register Here

Finally, Springboard have teamed up with Ambitious College, DFN Project SEARCH and the Whittington Hospital Trust to provide an exciting supported internship. This project will provide ten 19-25 year olds with the opportunity to spend a year learning new skills and developing their existing skills in the workplace with opportunities in administration, maintenance, hospitality and housekeeping. Project SEARCH is a well-established, evidence based programme, the goal for each programme participant being competitive employment.

To reach that goal, the programme provides real-life work experience combined with training in employability and independent-living skills to help young people with learning disabilities and autism spectrum conditions make successful transitions to productive adult life. The Project SEARCH model involves an extensive period of skills training and career exploration, innovative adaptations, long-term job coaching, and continuous feedback from instructors, job coaches and employers. If you are interested in more information, supporting the programme or know someone who might benefit from the internship, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

It is an exciting time at Springboard as we expand our activity in supporting disabled members of our community – and we want you to join us on this journey so don’t hesitate, get in touch and find out how you can contribute to this vital work.

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Springboard’s efforts continue to help tackle critical issue of chef attraction and retention

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Last week, Big Hospitality reported that a staggering 20,000 chefs were leaving the profession every year, making up a huge proportion of the UK chef workforce. High staff turnover has long remained a struggle within the hospitality industry but of all the various roles affected, it has proven particularly difficult to retain chefs for the long-term. Iqbal Wahhab, founder of The Cinnamon Club and Roast, attributes this crisis to the perceived image of “ludicrously long hours and aggressive work environments” that the industry is desperately trying to evade. These statistics combined with the upcoming anxieties prompted by Brexit and its impact on the hospitality industry beg the question of how can we solve this chronic problem?

Programmes such as FutureChef and Let’s Cook are just some of the many ways in which Springboard is making monumental steps in working to combat this particular staff crisis as well as the wider issue of staff turnover within the hospitality industry. Having been running since 1999, Springboard’s FutureChef programme has engaged over 130,000 participants since its first year. For many of these students, it would have been their first foray in a kitchen, providing life-changing experiences and imbuing them with the critical skills required to begin a career as a chef. Anne Pierce, CEO of Springboard, discussed the significance of the programme: “FutureChef is of critical importance now, more than ever. With the recent chef shortages, the industry is in great need of attracting fresh, young talent, and FutureChef can provide a solution. The programme continues to grow year on year, encouraging thousands more young people to consider a career as a chef, and coupled with the burgeoning industry support, FutureChef can make a real difference at this unpredictable time.”

Some of the most notable FutureChef alumni include 23 year-old Ruth Hansom, who has now worked her way up to become Head Chef at the Wernher Restaurant at the Luton Hoo Hotel, incredibly, just a few years after placing as a runner up in Springboard’s FutureChef competition. Luke Thomas, winner of FutureChef 2009, has also achieved an outstandingly successful career as a chef, having worked with some of the UK’s top chefs including Heston Blumenthal and Gary Rhodes. Since winning the competition, Luke has opened and worked in some of the best restaurants in the world, including Luke’s Dining Room in Berkshire, which he opened when he was just 18. The career opportunities afforded to these talented young individuals would not have been possible without the support of professional chefs and other top industry players. The involvement of these industry professionals is key to the success of the FutureChef programme and will aid the conversion of thousands of young people to take on a career as a chef, ultimately helping to overhaul the chef industry.

This year’s FutureChef competition was won by 14-year-old Jessica Mitchell from Glasgow, who the judges commended for her “high level of skill and professionalism”. 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”. 19 years after its inception, FutureChef is still making waves to improve the recruitment climate of the hospitality industry, with a focus on inspiring and cultivating thousands of young people all over the UK to begin a successful career as a chef. Gareth Billington, Executive Head Chef at Everton Football Club, described FutureChef as “simply the best and easiest way to recruit chefs into the industry.” It is the engagement of top industry chefs like Billington and their confidence in the programme that really helps to drive potential young talent through the pipeline to overcome the shortages. Find out more about how you can get involved with FutureChef here.

Joe's story

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Joe took part in our Hospitality Futures programme back in 2017, and has gone from strength to strength since then. Read on to find out how The Springboard Charity helped Joe turn his life around. 

According to Joe, he would probably be in prison, homeless or dead without the help of The Springboard Charity.

Growing up in a single family of four, life for young Joe was hard – with him and his siblings sometimes going without gas, electricity and even food. Things got worse as he grew up, falling in with a bad crowd, which made life even more difficult. He was unable to hold down a job for more than six months, frequently used drugs, and eventually ended up homeless – in and out of hostels filled with ex-offenders, and sometimes sleeping on the back of buses until morning. Joe knew he needed help, but felt lost, and had no idea where to turn.

That’s when Joe found The Springboard Charity, referred by a youth worker. Joe didn’t feel judged by Springboard, and through the Hospitality Futures programme, was able to learn new skills, build his confidence and prove to himself how much he could achieve. His life improved dramatically with each step, and with Springboard’s support, landed work experience at the Rubens at the Palace, Victoria, where he stayed for 11 months – something he may not have achieved with the help of The Springboard Charity.

Since getting involved with The Springboard Charity, Joe is a different person. He now works as a barman/waiter at Hilton London Bridge, and his skills and confidence have skyrocketed. Not only is he flourishing in his professional life, but even speaks at Springboard’s various events – helping others who have been through similar struggles.

Joe is now eagerly awaiting his future, striving to open up his own café-patisserie with his fiancée (who happens to be a pastry chef), and to continue assisting The Springboard Charity in helping others like himself to improve their lives. From a time which could have ended in tragedy, Joe is now on track for a bright and exciting future.

To help other people like Joe get back on their feet and begin a successful & sustainable career in the hospitality industry, enter our Awards for Excellence 2019 here.