The name gives you a clue – in a nutshell, Springboard is an organisation that acts predominantly as a starting block, by first helping young, unemployed and disadvantaged people launch their career in the hospitality, leisure and tourism industry, then providing ongoing support.
As chief executive Anne Pierce says: “We provide the first port of call for advice and guidance for anyone looking to enter or in this industry and help them make the first steps along the way to a successful career.”
Why is it needed?
Well, mainly because despite all the TV exposure for chef jobs, many people choosing their career paths know little about the range of opportunities on offer -- in addition, unemployment is growing and more people than ever need a helping hand. The industry needs it for two reasons: one - to improve perceptions, and two - because of the industry's incredible growth.
In fact, since Springboard was set up 20 years ago, the industry has become one of the biggest employers in the UK – the hospitality sector alone employs 2.3 million people.
Getting down to the nitty gritty, there are two sides to Springboard. The Springboard Charity develops links with schools, colleges , universities, jobcentre Plus and youth agenices, and delivers educational and career programmes to students and adult jobseekers through its free CareerScope service, among others. Advice and guidance is provided through a website, helpline, careers materials, publications, DVDs and one-to-one appointments, work tasters and placements, and into-work programmes.
The other side, Springboard UK, is the commercial arm which, as well as raising funds to support the charity’s work. Equally as important, it works alongside employers to improve the image of the industry and to promote it as a career choice and provide bespoke solutions to HR and CSR priorities. This, in turn, helps the industry attract home-grown talent and address the ongoing skills shortage spawned by its seemingly unstoppable growth.
Springboard’s main programmes
Here are a few of the main Springboard initiatives that have been helping jobseekers across the UK to get the most out of their hospitality career:
The Springboard Ambassador Programme
is open to talented go-getters already employed in hospitality. The two-day training course develops presentation skills, confidence and industry knowledge in these fledgling ambassadors so they can go on to promote the industry and their employer as a great place to work and an exciting career choice. [www.ambassadors.springboarduk.net]
is a UK-wide culinary programme that gives schoolchildren aged 12-16 a taste of the joys of cooking. The four-stage competition inspires young people to explore cooking as a life skill, helps to develop their culinary talent and opens up the possibility of a career in the hospitality industry. The annual event attracts no less than 7,000 competitors from 600 schools and involves about 1,000 chefs as mentors and judges, including celebrity chefs such as Brian Turner, Michael Caines, Cyrus Todiwala, David Mulcahy and Steve Munkley. [www.futurechef.springboarduk.net]
The Savoy Gastronomes' Olive Barnett Award is open to anyone under 30 working in a customer-facing role in the industry. Organised by Springboard, the winner walks away with a career development grant from the Savoy Educational Trust to the tune of £1,750 a year for two years. They also get to spend a week on the Lausanne Executive Education Programme as donated by the Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne, Switzerland.
Springboard’s Get Into Work - Summer School is a fun, informative training programme for school and college-leavers aged 16-25. During the three-week stint, young people can gain three industry-related certificates and enjoy some hands-on practical work experience. Besides promoting the fact that hospitality is a stimulating long-term career option, this scheme also offers Springboard business partners a rich source of potential new recruits.
Education and resources
Thankfully, hospitality is one industry where you can fulfill your ambitions while you’re still young enough to enjoy them. To that end, Springboard offers a range of tools and resources to help school-age children find their way into a college or apprenticeship, and to assist college leavers in moving their career forward. Check out some of the help available:
Teaching aids: There’s a dazzling range of free hospitality-related educational services, including computer programs, games, training packs and resources, for those involved with teaching the new Diploma curriculum for 14-19 year-olds.
Student aids: Like the teacher’s aids, these include computer programs, games, DVDs and publications. For students at the career stage, check out the CareerScope website and magazines.
Work placement advice for employers: By signing up to INSPIRE, businesses commit to providing the most effective work experience for young workers.
Business partnerships: Springboard’s membership scheme is for industry employers who show that they invest in their staff. As partners, they can access a number of Springboard services, bespoke advice and campaigns -– as well as enjoying a raised profile among the three million potential recruits a year that Springboard taps into.
Regular events for the diary
The Ambassador Award for Excellence. This glittering annual reception recognises the Springboard Ambassador whose enthusiasm and passion for the industry has most-influenced potential recruits.
An annual dinner onboard Bateaux London. Long-term sponsors Sodexo and Bateaux London invite past winners of the FutureChef competition back into the kitchen where they team up with guest chefs to cook a course each for 130 guests.
The Master Innholders Competition. Launched last year by the Springboard Charity, this competition is open to undergraduates in their final year on selected hospitality degree courses. Entrants upload an innovative 10-minute presentation on a given subject and await the judges’ verdict. The winners make their presentations at the annual Master Innholders conference in London.
For more information or to get in touch with Springboard, visit www.springboarduk.net or telephone 0207 497 8654
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