COOK already does great things for those in need, which is exactly why we introduced our Community Employment Scheme. We have set ourselves a target of recruiting 2% of our workforce from underserved communities, both in our kitchen in Sittingbourne and more recently in some of our shops, in order to give people a chance who wouldn’t otherwise be given one.
In the past 3 years we have worked really hard to set up relationships with schemes throughout our local communities including our longer-term relationship with HMP Standford Hill with our prison scheme, and more recently with other schemes such as Working Chance, Caring Hands and Avanta. We want to recruit people based on who they are rather than what they’ve done, exactly like we do for any other recruitment. This is all part of our commitment to use our business as a force for good. We currently employ 16 amazing people through these schemes who are keen, dependable and incredibly grateful for the opportunities we have given them. We have helped people with literacy skills, given them the opportunity of our Ops Academy and promoted another within just a few months. The support and respect they have received from COOK is second to none, and we couldn’t support schemes the way that we do without the backing of the teams and managers. This is something we have been doing for a number of years now and it’s clearly in our DNA to help those who other’s won’t or can’t. Hopefully over the next few years it’s a project that can be extended to further charities or groups and we can increase our impact on the local community by giving people a chance who wouldn’t otherwise be given one.
"Working at COOK has been the best thing that has happened to me. It has given me a sense of self worth, self belief and some very good friends of which I am ever so grateful for. Plus the opportunity to better myself by being on the ops academy, this time last year I never thought I would be where I am if not with the help and support cook have given me."