Pret's plan to recruit homeless

Clive Gee/PA

Coffee chain Pret a Manger is taking its holier-than-thou branding image to a new level by hiring 70 new apprentices in the New Year, recruiting from homeless, ex-offender and disadvantaged backgrounds.

Pret gives the apprentices £100 to buy work clothes and pays for their travel to and from work, on top of their weekly wage.

The new recruitment plan follows a similar drive this year that saw Pret take on 57 new staff under its apprenticeship scheme. Under the new programme, the company will train the apprentices in their chosen field across different parts of the business from front-of-house shop floor work to IT with the guide of a mentor.

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 Pret apprenticeship scheme was launched in 2008 and has an 88% success rate. The company currently works with nine charities and community projects to identify potential apprentices. Each candidate is invited for an interview and placed in the business if successful after a three-month training scheme.
The plan runs alongside Pret's commitment to help the homeless by donating money raised from the sale of its Christmas sandwiches. It raised £250,000 in 2010, and £101,117 has been raised so far this year.
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