20th January 2012

Pret A Manger will help the homeless earn their crust

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Pret a Manger is taking corporate social responsibility to new heights by planning to hire 70 apprentices who are homeless, ex-offenders or from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The apprentices will then be trained across all parts of the business from front-of-house shop floor work to IT and in addition to their weekly wage, the company will give each apprentice £100 to buy work clothes and it will pay for their travel to and from work.

The UK sandwich chain is renowned for giving away almost two million perishable food items annually that have passed the ‘sell by’ date (but are still safe to eat), therefore reducing the amount of waste generated at the same time.

The company is working with nine charities to select potential candidates and after an initial interview, the chosen person is given a three-month training scheme before being officially hired.

Nicki Fisher, head of sustainability at Pret, said: “It’s hard enough for people from disadvantaged and troubled backgrounds to find work normally, let alone in these difficult times, so anything that can be done to alleviate their plight should be tried.

“This is about getting the homeless off the streets and giving ex-offenders a second chance. All the recruits start with a clean slate and are given every chance to build a career and rebuild their lives.”

The firm works alongside charities including the Salvation Army, YMCA and local churches to ensure that leftover food reaches those in need. In the capital, they have five eco-friendly ‘charity vans’ that deliver and collect from 40 percent of their shops in the city.

Fifty shops in London are overseen by Pret’s own ‘charity run,’ the remaining shops have local charities come in the evening to pick up leftovers.