Case study | 01 March 2021

In conversation with Pret A Manger

Over the course of our ten-year partnership, we’ve supported 110 women into work at Pret a Manger both in their stores and in their Head Office. Many of those women have risen up through Pret’s ranks.

We spoke to the Employment and Housing Manager at the Pret Foundation, to find out what working with us has meant to her and the Pret team:

“We’re extremely proud of our decade long relationship with Working Chance. When we first heard about the inspirational work they do, we were on a mission to diversify our workforce and provide employment opportunities to those furthest removed from the mainstream labour market.

We were, and continue to be, blown away by the calibre and quality of applicants that come through from Working Chance; it’s a great talent pool for us to choose from. The women often have incredible CVs, experience and knowledge. A few women we’ve hired have done really well within Pret and many more have moved on to be successful in other careers. One woman in particular stands out, she’s just gone from strength to strength. She started off as a PA a few years ago, and now she’s running her own projects!

Working Chance really understands our needs as an employer but also the support women might need on their journey. It’s a real partnership and collaborative effort. Every woman we hire has a dedicated advisor who checks in with us regularly, supports individual managers and attends progress review meetings. It’s a really great set up!

They’ve even given us the opportunity to go into prisons directly and speak to the women who are close to release or eligible for release on temporary license (ROTL), talking to the women directly and telling them more about Pret a Manger and the opportunities we have.

Hiring someone who is eligible for ROTL is actually quite simple when you have experts like Working Chance who can guide you through the process and help you manage all the admin and paperwork. Working Chance also manages all the communication with prisons, which is great! We just choose the women we want to hire and wait for them to come to work.

The women we’ve hired who are on ROTL are some of our most loyal employees. They’re very hardly late, prefer to work than be in prison, are very committed and will always show up.

Some employers might be worried about risk, but often they don’t know anything about the people they employ, because for the most part, if the person doesn’t disclose a conviction the employer won’t know whether they have a criminal record or not. But for the women who come to us from Working Chance, we know where they’re at in life and have a good understanding of their support needs so that we can help them to flourish. And of course, Working Chance is there every step of the way to help us!”