Ben Lewis, a Milton Keynes College Academy learner originally from Bristol, left HMP YOI Glen Parva with confidence and an interest in the hospitality industry due to completing the Catering course. This was developed and delivered in partnership with Milton Keynes College, Greene King & Staffpoint Recruitment Agency, and provided the knowledge and skills to prepare him for working life once released.
Working in partnership with the employer, HMP YOI Glen Parva resettlement team, Futures, the CRC & the CFO3 project delivered by APM a through the gate plan was developed to give Ben the best possible chance of securing employment upon release.
Ben was met at the gate by Liam Higgins, the Area Chef at Greene King and was taken to probation in Leicester, then on to his employment in a hotel in Leicestershire providing him with not just a job but gave him accommodation.
The move from Bristol to Leicester enabled Ben to have a fresh start from his life before imprisonment and allowed him to focus on improving his future. Liam from Green King felt Ben had shown a great interest in progressing through the Greene King organisation’ and since beginning his role, ‘is working well towards this goal.’
Greene King provided outstanding support for Ben from the start, by offering initial accommodation in the hotel in which he would be working, with prospects of moving into a house share. Plans have also been set in place, helping him set up a bank account and giving him an advance on his wages.
Ben has had extensive support to get to this point with Graham Kierle, Employment Academy Co-ordinator for East Midlands at Milton Keynes College, going above and beyond his role by taking Ben shopping in order to help him find appropriate clothing for his new role.
Graham commented on Ben’s progression to date: “We have spent some time talking to staff about Ben’s progress, they are all really impressed with his willingness to work and how he gets on with colleagues and management.”
Ben has proved himself to be a passionate individual and has taken up e-learning classes at the weekends to further improve himself.
Speaking on how he is finding his position with Greene King at the Fieldhead Hotel, Ben said: “I am getting on well, it’s a good laugh and I have learnt many new things. It’s a step forward to changing my life and a great opportunity. The manager and all the staff are very supportive and I’m earning my own money, as well as making some good new friends and work colleagues. The work is challenging but really enjoyable. Currently I’m living on site, but I am searching for my own flat.”
Ben’s Head Chef, Adam, is equally impressed with Ben’s work ethic, commenting: “Ben has fitted in really well with the team at the Fieldhead, he is keen to learn and enthusiastic to work. As his Head Chef, I give him daily tasks that are always completed on time and to a high standard.”
Following the success of the Academy, Chris, Hotel Manager, stated that ‘although slightly apprehensive about taking Ben on to start with, he is very pleased he did’.
Chris said: “His work ethic has been brilliant and his attitude towards his new role has been very impressive. I would definitely consider taking on another employee through this programme.”