Ei Group has announced its new corporate partnership with The Clink, a charity that aims to reduce reoffending by training and qualifying prisoners for employment as chefs on release.

The Clink currently trains up to 200 prisoners a day to gain their Level 2 NVQs in foodservice, food preparation, food hygiene and horticulture. It works in partnership with Her Majesty’s Prison & Probation Service to deliver 11 training projects: 4 restaurants, 2 gardens, 3 kitchens, 1 event catering business and 1 cafe.

The training programmes are based on candidates working a minimum of 30 hours per week to obtain City & Guilds accredited training in Food Preparation and Cookery within the existing prison kitchens. There are currently three kitchen pilot projects running at HMP Styal, HMP Risley and HMP Bristol.

The new partnership is encouraging Ei Group’s focus on promoting hospitality as a career choice and transforming lives through providing individuals from all backgrounds opportunities that can lead to meaningful employment. Skilled labour in the hospitality sector remains a concern with chefs singled out as remaining in demand.

Ei Group has invested over £350m in its pubs over the last five years and is committed to investing c.£80m this financial year allowing its pubs and publicans to continue to provide a diverse range of goods, services and facilities to local communities whilst also helping to transform lives through employment opportunities.

Ei Group chief executive Simon Townsend said: “We are delighted to partner with The Clink, a charity that is doing fantastic and transformative work with prisoners in a number of different settings. The results it has achieved through its training programmes are impressive and we look forward to working together to support the charity. As a business we are committed to promoting pubs and the wider hospitality sector as a career of choice and changing perceptions about the life-long opportunities, from bar to boardroom, our industry offers. Our new partnership with The Clink offers us a great avenue to progress that aim and make a difference.”

The Clink Charity chief executive Christopher Moore added: “We want to expand our training projects further and by partnering with Ei Group we’ll be able to raise awareness of our work in reducing reoffending and support the hospitality industry, which has a major skills shortage. Overall, we’ll be working together to change attitudes, transform lives, create second chances and make society a safer place.”

Ei Group and The Clink will now work together to map out a programme of activity and bespoke initiatives in the coming months.