A CHEF at the Quantock in Bridgwater has joined his employer Greene King at the House of Commons to announce a new recruitment programme for ex-offenders and training for 20,000 apprentices.

George Henley was at the House of Commons on Wednesday, January 30 to launch the Greene King Stepping Up Report, in which the company aims to challenge the barriers of social mobility and provide a commitment to create the best opportunities for individuals from all backgrounds in the hospitality sector.

The report sets out five ambitions to encourage greater social mobility alongside a call for action for the Government and wider industry to do its part.

George is included in the report as a key case study, highlighting how completing an apprenticeship with Greene King helped him take the all-important first steps of a career in hospitality.

Having been previously unemployed, George began working front of house at the Quantock and from there soon progressed to team leader and has been trained to work in all parts of the business.

Having achieved his level 2+ front of house qualification, George now wants to start level 3 in senior chef production, and one day become a general manager.

Launched at a reception in Parliament on Wednesday, January 30 and supported by Education Secretary Damian Hinds, The Stepping Up Report comes as the prominence of social mobility as an issue continues to rise in the UK.

George Henley, chef at the Quantock, said: “Often people wrongly see hospitality as a low-skilled industry but actually it requires a great deal of training and development and I feel I’ve really benefited from my apprenticeship.

"It’s helped me to go from being unemployed to now working towards becoming a general manager and this is so much more than just a one-off or temporary job.

"I’m really pleased to have been included in the report and I hope that people will look at my story and see how they too can benefit from an apprenticeship and training and really overcome the odds to create a successful career path for themselves.

"An apprenticeship isn’t a one-off, it’s a continual process of learning and development and I’m proud to be here today for the launch of this report. "It really sets out some important goals and aims to encourage greater social mobility.”

Damian Hinds MP, Secretary of State for Education, added: “Social Mobility is, ultimately, why I’m in politics. It’s a simple concept; that everyone should have the chance to fulfil that spark of potential that exists in all of us. However, in practice, we find it much more difficult to deliver. This report demonstrates the critical role that more and more businesses like Greene King are playing in promoting social mobility; whether through apprenticeships, in-house training or by helping ex-offenders get back into work. I hope the positive case studies here will encourage more companies to step up.”