Independent UK restaurant company Casual Dining Group (CDG) has launched the first programme to support Syrian refugees working in the hospitality industry.

The programme is being run in partnership with the UK Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), World Jewish Relief and SPS Training Solutions, and supports people that have come to Britain as part of the Home Office’s schemes for vulnerable resettled refugees.

The scheme currently operates in Coventry and across Yorkshire, and is personalised to each refugee to help them develop skills and identify opportunities they need to find a permanent job and integrate into British society.

In March, nine refugees spent three weeks training to work in the hospitality industry, with the first two weeks focusing on theory, including interview training, and in the third week involving getting hands-on within the industry working at Bella Italia and Café Rouge in Coventry.

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The success of the programme has led to three of the course attendees being offered jobs within CDG, with three others given conditional offers for when vacancies arise. The organisations are in discussions about repeating the scheme on a larger scale.

CDG HR director Claire Clarke said: “The hospitality industry is a phenomenal place to work that’s inundated with opportunities for driven people, regardless of background. We were delighted to work closely with the DWP, SBS, and World Jewish Relief to pass on our operational expertise and support this worthwhile and progressive initiative.

“As a business, we have created a sophisticated and robust series of training and development programmes to support the progression of our employees. This programme is a great example of how we can utilise this experience as we look to support people with the necessary skill-set to enter the industry.”

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World Jewish Relief UK programme director Janice Lopatkin said: “This cohort of refugees can provide the hospitality industry with a highly skilled, extremely driven and talented group of new recruits. We’re proud that this programme is boosting British business by supplying such a high calibre of candidates whilst also supporting the refugees to become self-reliant, contributing and valued members of British society.”