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Culinary dreams: how Barclays is helping students pursue a career in the food sector in the US

30 Aug 2019 04:00

Are you thinking of starting a career in the culinary field? Do you have the itch to make a mark in the hospitality industry? If so, you may not instantly think of a bank.

As part of the Barclays Connect with Work programme, colleagues in Barclays US Consumer Bank invited students from the Food Bank of Delaware to their offices in Wilmington, Delaware to learn about how a corporate kitchen is run, and to help with CV writing and interview tips.

How Connect with Work is helping the Food Bank of Delaware

Barclays US Consumer Bank started a partnership with the Food Bank of Delaware three years ago through the Barclays Connect with Work employability programme. Since then, the partnership has been going from strength to strength and providing ongoing support to students and teaching them skills to support their prospects for employment in the food industry.

The Food Bank of Delaware, a member of Feeding America, is a Delaware-based, state-wide non-profit agency which has a vision to create a community free of hunger. As part of their workforce training programme, Delaware Food Works, the Food Bank offers a Culinary School programme, a 14-week Delaware Department of Education-certified course that teaches students from low-income, disadvantaged, or homeless backgrounds how to work in the food service sector.

Globally, the Barclays Connect with Work programme has already helped thousands of people to get into work. At the start of 2019, Barclays committed to place 250,000 people from overlooked communities into work by 2022 through the programme.

Creating a CV to reach culinary dreams

The Food Bank of Delaware’s ambition is to develop long-term solutions to the problems of hunger and poverty through community education and advocacy.

Colleagues from Barclays US Consumer Bank have volunteered by running skills training sessions for the Food Bank’s workforce development training programme – Delaware Food Works – focused on food service, warehousing and agriculture. Through these workshops, our colleagues have been supporting the Food Bank to execute this robust volunteering programme to help students to get into employment. The students have learned valuable skills like effective CV writing and interview tips. Our colleagues are able to bring the voice of the employer into conversations and the workshops have proved to be well received from the students, one commenting: “I liked how we actually made a CV instead of just learning how to in a class.”

Taking a kitchen tour

The students also had the unique opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at the Barclays cafeteria in the Wilmington, Delaware office to see how a corporate kitchen is run. The students had a chance to see the culinary experts at work whilst interacting with customers. They even got to take a tour of the restaurant next door so to see how a small business runs.

One colleague, Jennifer McEntee in the Partnership Customer Experience team in Barclays US Consumer Bank, was selected to speak at the Culinary School’s graduation ceremony in mid-August given her dedication and leadership in helping to develop this bespoke multipronged volunteer engagement programme with the Food Bank. Jennifer worked with the Food Bank workforce training staff and the Barclays Citizenship team to develop the curriculum, recruit volunteers and organize the volunteer opportunities. Jennifer said: “I was delighted to have been selected to speak about our overall commitment to the Food Bank of Delaware and to present our 2019 donation to them on behalf of Barclays. This funding will support the Delaware Food Works employability programming, including The Culinary School, which is making a significant impact with all of the students who graduated now working full time.”

Working with charity partners

Barclays uses its network, expertise and scale along with the workforce development focus of its charity partners – like the Food Bank of Delaware and others from around the world – to deliver a programme that addresses the needs of both businesses and the local community. It gives companies the opportunity to support their commercial ambitions – providing a pipeline of new, diverse talent – while at the same time having a genuine, meaningful and lasting impact on people’s lives both immediately and over time.

Jenn Cho, Head of Citizenship for Barclays US Consumer Bank, said, “We’re proud to partner with the Food Bank of Delaware to support the Delaware Food Works’ students on their pathway to employment and play our part in helping them to achieve their career ambitions. Our Barclays US Consumer Bank colleagues volunteer their time, talents and expertise to support these students in their career journeys. This initiative and impactful partnership forms a key part of Barclays Connect with Work program which, through job specific skills training, hopes to place a quarter of a million people into work by 2022 globally.”

“We are so thankful for the support of Barclays through both funding and volunteer support,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “Programmes like Delaware Food Works are not possible without the commitment of our partners. We are thrilled that Barclays has rallied around this initiative and the student lives that are impacted by colleagues volunteering their time to make a difference.”