‘Alex’, who completed a six-month sentence, his first time in custody, was concerned about his employment prospects and whether he could continue his catering career on release. He had previously worked in a hotel kitchen, having achieved a Level 2 in Hospitality and Catering. By working in the coffee shop at HMYOI Wetherby, Alex was able to maintain his skill level and develop new strings to his bow by completing units of Hospitality and Catering that he hadn’t worked on before. He also completed his Barista training, which crucially opened up more opportunities on release.
Steve Byrne, Head of Education at HMYOI Wetherby, said: "Throughout his time at Wetherby, Alex maintained his motivation by working with the Hospitality and Catering team on site to expand his knowledge. He led by example in busy lunch time services to all colleagues on site.
"As Alex moved towards release, our team approached Wagamama, which had vacancies for chefs at one of its branches. We gained the full support of his family and were successful in obtaining a trial shift and interview for Alex for the day after his release.
"The Employment & Resettlement team accompanied him for the interview to offer the support he needed as he was nervous about the process and disclosing his offence. Alex was successful in getting a job with Wagamama. The company’s staff were supportive in what we were trying to achieve for Alex.
“Now, more than six months after release, he is still working for Wagamama, has passed his probationary period and secured a permanent position with the firm."