Elior UK is celebrating after its Kingston University team was officially recognised by Surrey Choices for supporting young, disabled people living in the county. It won the ‘Making a Difference’ award for taking part in Surrey Choices’ Employment Works’ work experience programme and offering placements to young people with disabilities.

Elior UK operates 14 outlets across four sites at Kingston University and also provides hospitality and vending services. It has taken part in Surrey Choices’ EmployAbility initiative since its launch two years ago and provides 12 month work experience placements for two students each year. One of the students that participated in the programme was offered a full time job and began working for Elior UK as a general assistant in September 2014.

Nicky Harding, Surrey Choices employment development officer, said: “We’ve given Elior this award because it has proved to be a forward thinking and inclusive employer. The work placements it has offered to young people have proved to be a huge success for Elior, EmployAbility and, most importantly, the students that have taken part.

“We’ve now worked with the team at Kingston University for two years and they have always encouraged and supported our students on the programme, even offering one of them a full time paid job.”  

Oliver Garett, group manager, Elior UK, Kingston University, said: “EmployAbility is a fantastic scheme that has worked really well for us and we’re proud to play a role in helping young, disabled people. The students we have worked with have made a great contribution and we’ve enjoyed working with them.”

“I’d also like to highlight the fantastic work that our Elior UK team members Alain Bastel, Hajnalka Kinczel and Ashley Webb are carrying out in terms of managing the day to day development and overseeing of the placement students.”

The students work at the University’s Penrhyn site and help its team on the shop floor. The contract caterer now plans to expand its work with EmployAbility by offering additional work experience placements at a second site.