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New jobs and skills service caters for former food service personnel

Earlier this week it was announced that members of the food service sector had come together to launch ‘Food Service Circle’ (FSC) – a platform that offers support to those working in the food service sector affected by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. FMJ finds out more about the scheme.

Responding to the loss of jobs within the food service sector due to the impact of the Covid-19 crisis, FSC has been launched as a one-stop shop for all former team members; offering free training, counsel, advice and job opportunities. The companies involved in FSC include: ABM Catering, Amadeus, Aramark, Artizian, Bartlett Mitchell, BaxterStorey, Blue Apple, Celtic Catering, Churchill, CH&Co, Compass Group, Elior, Genuine Dining Co, Graysons, Harrison, Houston and Hawkes, Lexington, OCS, Sodexo, Susa Comms and Vacherin.

Carl Morris, Sales, Marketing and Corporate Communications Director, Elior UK, explains how the idea came together.

“The Food Service Management group is part of UK Hospitality trade body and represents the interest of the contract catering industry, one of the UK’s largest employers. We meet on a regular basis to discuss areas of mutual interest, typically around proposed legislation, training, employment and taking input from external sector experts.”

Because they are working in the same sector, the companies represented are competitors, and would not typically work together, but the devastating impact of the pandemic and the closure of businesses, offices and schools has seen a dramatic reduction in revenues, which in turn has impacted on the level of employment that can be sustained.

Explains Morris: “The inevitable loss of roles and valuable skills prompted the group to develop Food Service Circle in order to offer support for individuals impacted, and have a single portal to share vacancies from across the sector. It is vital that skills can be retained within the industry and individuals are helped back into employment.”         

“There haven’t been too many good news stories emerging from the pandemic,” adds Tim Jones Chairman CH&Co, “but one of those has been how the Food Service Management companies have come together to work through the challenges raised by the resulting lockdown.”

For individuals looking to use the website for employment purposes, it has two invaluable sections. The first provides resources to help apply for roles, CV writing and interview skills. The second is a link to current vacancies across the sector at all levels and all disciplines. These vary from frontline staff, chefs and unit managers, to support function roles such as marketing, finance, HR and L&D.

As the portal has been set up in an incredibly short period of time, it is envisaged content will grow further to provide an invaluable one stop shop for food service professionals.

“Losing your job is incredibly unsettling and traumatic experience for anybody, especially during a period of rising unemployment,” says Morris, so “the website is designed to help individuals by providing skills they may not have needed to use for many years, such as applying for roles, CV writing and participating in interviews, so they can quickly get up to speed and stand a better chance of securing that next role.” 

The benefit of vacancy board is that, as the industry recovers, individuals can quickly access vacancies from across the country that will fit with their prior experience and in a sector they already know well.

Says Jones: “There will be regular updates from all of the companies involved as to what they are doing, how they see the economy improving, major projects they are working on etc. It is planned that all the major leaders in the sector will help contribute to this. FSC will also offer support in how to deal with the many mental health issues that arise from redundancy and give guidance on financial, career and health concerns. 

“Above all, Food Service Circle will offer a means for the individuals to stay connected with the sector. It is hoped that FSC will be seem as an alumni for those sadly affected.  

“It is hoped that individuals will take comfort from having a reference point for support, and the tools available to them to ensure they get through these current difficulties and emerge sometime in the very near future in suitable roles in food service.”

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