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Compass Group launches new multi-million pound academy

Compass Group UK & Ireland has announced the launch of the Compass Group Academy, a multi-million pound investment designed to develop much needed skills in the hospitality industry with a focus on supporting young people from disadvantaged areas build careers in the sector.

Combining outreach and learning with Compass’ industry-wide reach, the launch of the Academy highlights Compass’ ambition to do even more to improve social mobility in the UK. The state of the art physical and online hub will be based in the West Midlands and is due to open in 2023.

It will train people in a range of disciplines, including hospitality, culinary and services, amid talent shortages across the industry. Being right at the centre of the UK, the Academy will target people in the UK’s ‘cold spots’, the parts of the country with the lowest prospects in education and employment, to provide an opportunity to enter the world of work and develop a fulfilling career.

Compass has always prided itself on being an engine of social mobility, with some of its most senior managers having started their careers on the front line.

From early next year, Compass will begin measuring the social-economic background of its 40,000 employees, with the view to provide the support to help colleagues from all backgrounds progress and grow careers in the business. They will be able to track the impact of positive interventions through training and skills development.

To ensure the Academy achieves Compass’ goal of improving social mobility in the UK, the food and support services provider has appointed Chris Moore (pictured bottom right) as its Managing Director.

Moore was previously Chief Executive of The Clink Charity, a not-for-profit that trains prisoners in front and back of house hospitality roles, providing them with employment opportunities and support upon release.

Prior to that, he spent the entirety of his career working within the hospitality sector, having started out as a chef. Moore was recently recognised at the Cateys, a catering industry award, with the Outstanding Contribution award for his services to the industry.

The Academy will aim to train over 12,000 people a year. As well as training its own employees, a fifth of the academy will be dedicated to outreach. This will include:

• Schools engagement - educating and inspiring students from socio-economically challenged and diverse communities in the West Midlands;
• Working with disadvantaged groups - expanding Compass' work with partner organisations such as The Springboard Charity, The Clink, The Prince’s Trust, and National Care Covenant to help people into real jobs and careers;
• Attracting young people into the industry - supporting post-Covid initiatives such as traineeships and kickstart programmes by giving the younger generation opportunities to gain the skills they require.

The Midlands has some of the UK’s highest deprivation gaps between neighbourhoods, according to the ONS. Annual outreach events will be held to ensure the Academy effectively balances its learning programmes with benefiting the local community.

Robin Mills, Managing Director for Compass Group UK & Ireland, said, “I am delighted to have launched our Compass Group Academy, it is a really important step in our commitment to create opportunity for all, whatever someone’s background.

“Compass is uniquely placed as a business to do this; our reach extends across the country and we have a genuine ability to create opportunities in the places that need them most. Our Academy will help address the skills crisis the industry faces but will also help people in the most disadvantaged areas get on that crucial first rung on the ladder.”

Chris Moore, Managing Director for the Compass Group Academy, said, 'I can’t wait to get started and deliver the new Compass Academy. I have seen first-hand the power that training and upskilling brings to people – it has the ability to change people’s lives. Overseeing the creation, development and operation of this centre for excellence is really exciting.

“This is a hugely ambitious project that will really drive social mobility as well as bring great benefits to the hospitality sector. The social outreach ambitions coupled with learning excellence are what will make the Compass academy unique.”

Kate Nicholls, CEO, UK Hospitality, said, 'Hospitality is a model of meritocracy. There are jobs in every region of the UK, every high street and town centre, in every constituency. Those venues provide so many opportunities which, with hard work, determination and aptitude, gets people to the top, regardless of their background.

“It’s exciting to see the opportunities that the Compass Academy will create for people and I am delighted to see Compass aligning its social mobility commitments with its sustainability goals, a challenge that the industry as a whole has to swiftly address. The talent that comes through the Academy will help address the industry’s acute skills crisis, while creating a new diverse generation of industry leaders.'