BCHA’s new, free employability and skills programme At Your Service offers unemployed and short term employed people free training and support into rewarding employment within the retail, hospitality and leisure industry.
At Your Service has been developed in response to unemployment and changes to the job market resulting from the Covid epidemic.
Its expert coaches and mentors aim to produce an army of trained and fulfilled staff for this ailing sector and in doing so give a much needed boost to the local economy.
Here, chef and teacher Ciro Vitiello tells why he is proud to be part of the At Your Service team.
“I’ve wanted to be a chef and to share my love of cooking for as long as I can remember.
“As a child in Italy I used to cook with friends; pancakes, pasta – anything we could, using whatever was in the house!
“After leaving school I joined cooking school and at the age of 17 I started work in my first pizzeria, before joining my family pizza restaurant where I stayed for four years.
“Then I decided I needed to spread my wings and I moved to Ireland, where I rose through the ranks of my profession in different restaurants and hotels.”
From Ireland, Ciro travelled to London to work, where he met his friend Franco and thanks to their shared love of cooking they also started to teach, through various community projects.
Ciro and Franco now manage the pizza baking school inside West London University and work closely with job centres all over the country, encouraging people in need of a job to train to be pizza chefs.
Ciro said: “I love teaching – it was a dream of mine for a long time and I love to encourage people to explore their talents as chefs.”
He continued: “The world has been through a crisis. But there are now so many exciting opportunities for people out there in hospitality, I want to encourage that as much as I can.
“I am very excited to be involved with At Your Service and can’t wait to meet and share my love of cooking with its participants.”
The vision of a post-Covid High Street is one of an experiential arena for customers to enjoy eateries, coffee shops, themed pop-up food outlets and galleries.
This will result in much-needed growth for the hospitality and leisure sectors.
At Your Service will be working with local employers and sector specialists to offer skills training, coaching, and live work experience, which will increase the chances of participants finding and sustaining employment.
Training will include Accredited City and Guilds Level 2 Food and Hygiene, Barista Training, Level 2 Certificate in Customer Service and Level 2 Certificate in Personal Development for Employability.
Val Jefferies, Project Manager of At Your Service said:
“BCHA’s employability and skills experts will also assist At Your Service participants with job searches, interview preparation and coaching. Employers will have early access to this newly-trained workforce through events showcasing participants’ skills and an employee ‘matching’ service.
“With the help of our wonderful team including Ciro, participants will enter into meaningful employment with a sense of purpose, pride in where they live and of being part of the re-growth of the local economy.”
At Your Service launches on 5 October 2021.