Pret A Manger, the highly successful sandwich and coffee chain, plans to create 550 extra jobs in the UK – including taking on more homeless people as apprentices, the Daily Mail reports.
The popular chain, which opened in London in 1986 and now employs some 5,000 in this country, has pledged to open 24 more sites here and 20 overseas.
The firm, which gained huge public support for giving its leftover food to homeless charities, now plans to recruit homeless people as apprentices this year, and also launch a drive to attract more school leavers.
Chief executive Clive Schlee said: ‘Pret plans to expand the Pret apprenticeship scheme for the homeless and increase the number of apprentices to 70 this year.
‘The scheme offers an opportunity to break the cycle of homelessness by providing the most valuable gift of all – a paid job in a lively social environment.’
Pret came under fire for its recruitment policies last year after Employment Minister Chris Grayling said it was ‘unacceptable’ for fast food chains to employ all-foreign staff at a time when British workers were losing their jobs.
Questioned on TV over why one branch appeared to be staffed entirely by foreigners, Mr Grayling said he wanted British-born workers to be given a chance instead.
But Pret said that it was ‘proud of the fact that our jobs are open to everyone legally able to work in the UK, no matter what their background’.
The Pret A Manger website says:
‘We employ many different nationalities and value the cosmopolitan feel this gives the company.’
Pret has opened two stores in Paris this year, and Mr Schlee commented today that Parisians ate fewer crisps than people in the UK but were fond of puddings, cakes and cookies.
He plans to open two more shops in the French capital, as well as the first Pret in Boston in the U.S.
The group, which is mainly owned by private equity firm Bridgepoint, said sales rose 15 per cent to £377.3million while underlying profits were up 14 per cent to £52.4million in the year to December 29.
Pret hailed 2011 as a year of strong revenue and profit growth during which the firm built a record number of new stores in the UK and internationally.
The company revealed last year it was looking for expansion on two fronts – first into UK market towns and local High Streets and second into international markets.
It has been testing the firm’s suitability for international expansion, to see if it could become one of only a handful of genuinely global fast food brands.
The company is known for paying its staff above the minimum wage, promoting from the shop floor and providing flexible hours. Source: Daily Mail.
On the job vacancy page Pret A Manger outline the pay scale:
‘We pay our people as much as we can afford, rather than as little as we can get away with. We invest in, train and develop our people . Our starting salary is £7.25 an hour in London (after 10 days, including bonus). Many get over £8 an hour and more. The average salary (including bonuses) for General Managers is £36,650 pa and Assistant Managers is £27,150 pa.’
Staff wear jeans and are invited to a twice yearly ‘massive party’.
Pret staff are always friendly and upbeat and the service is excellent.
There are a number of vacancies listed, mainly for Central London, and applicants can apply online.
Majestic College, which helps Romanian and Bulgarian students study on vocational work based course in the UK called the Pret A Manger recruitment office in London to find out if they would offer jobs to their students.
When asked about whether they offered jobs to Romanian and Bulgarian students, the Pret recruitment officer said:
‘Only if they have blue or yellow cards’.
Majestic asked if they would offer a job subject to yellow card approval, that is while the student was waiting for UKBA approval, the person said:
‘No, we will not sponsor the yellow card, they have to have it when they apply’.
Not very helpful to a Romanian student who needs a job offer for a vocational course before they can apply for a yellow card!
When he was Prime Minister, Gordon Brown famously announced that he wanted ‘British jobs for British people’, but never explained how an employer is supposed to advertise a post for a ‘British worker only’.
With the myriad of employment and EU Laws tying businesses up in knots, an employer would be dragged through the courts in shame if he or she told a prospective job seeker: ‘sorry, I cannot employ you because we have been told to only take on British born workers’.
Employers are required to follow strict employment law, ‘Equal Opportunity’ rules, as well as adhering to Labour’s Equality and Diversity Act.
EU workers from countries such as Poland, Bulgaria and Romania have come to the UK in large numbers because they know they can easily find work because many British born do not want to take minimum wage jobs or jobs which require unsocial hours.
Bulgaria, along with Romania, joined the European Union in 2007, however, the UK government and other European governments imposed limits on working the newest members of the EU. See: Free Movement of EU nationals explained.
Whilst they are free to move around Europe without a visa, they can only work in the UK as employed persons with special permission. This restriction on employment in the UK was extended last year by the Immigration Minister Damian Green until January 2014.
Bulgarians and Romanians are allowed to set up a business, apply for a work permit, study (Yellow Card scheme) or reside in the UK as a ‘self sufficient’ person, provided they can prove they have enough funds to support themselves.
If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email:
Majestic College offer special packages for EU students. They also have a number of employers looking for staff right now and are willing to employ Bulgarians and Romanians.
For more information call Joanna on 0208 207 1020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org