The stories of the Compass Group follow one another and do not resemble each other. During the first quarter of 2020, several of our locations welcomed interns from the specialized education sector.

This is in line with our policy of providing equal opportunities for all and supporting diversity within our company.

Encounter with special education trainees

The special education trainees we have hired have a neuro-atypic profile, i.e. they sometimes have behavioural or attention disorders but also learning difficulties (dyslexia, dyspraxia, dysphasia...). This implies that we must redouble our patience and efforts to follow them and integrate them properly into our kitchen. Céline is the trainee of the educational restaurant "Les Parfums du monde" (Tubize), which worked at the European Council. As for the trainees from the Charles Gheude Institute (Brussels), we received Mouhamadou and Atal at the European Council, Immer at Belfius and Timucin at ING.

The challenge of the first days

Our colleagues needed some time to adjust. They discovered the difficulties that trainees face. Not forgetting that an institution like the European Council is already impressive for anyone. They had to remember a lot of information: the way to the buildings, the safety rules, the hygiene instructions and the planning of our kitchen. They received their badges and uniforms. Within a few days, our trainees quickly found their bearings.

Samuel, ING's head manager, explains: "When Timucin arrived, we went on a tour of the kitchens and restaurants together. I introduced him to his godmother, who would be accompanying him during his internship. He is always supervised, and we make sure he doesn't feel too much stress or pressure.”

Progress in a few weeks

With trainees in special education, we must give them repetitive tasks. Our colleagues showed them how to cut vegetables or prepare soup. During the day, each work shift is closely monitored to make sure that everything goes well for everyone.

We asked Vincent, Unit Manager at the European Council, a few questions: "The trainees show a lot of motivation. Simply serving a plate can be complicated, our chef explains everything step by step. At the end the trainees are satisfied with their achievements. The relationship with the customers required some effort. At the European Coundil, the number of clients is very intensive. It creates stress, there is always a long line up. Thanks to our team, the trainees manage to serve the orders. Our customers appreciate our approach and are very tolerant.”

What Mouhamadou, a trainee of specialized education at the Charles Gheude Institute, thinks: "I was well received here. Everyone was nice to me, they explained the tasks to me and the atmosphere is very good. I quickly felt at ease. I learned how to cut vegetables and prepare sandwiches for the cafeteria.”

An enriching experience for everyone

It was great to see how rewarding the experience was for our colleagues and the special education trainees.

Vincent continues: "We all learned a lot. The trainees are engaging and always polite, but each one has his own character. For example, Mouhamadou is a very enthusiastic boy, sometimes too enthusiastic. He was able to manage his behaviour and keep calm when necessary. He welcomes customers with a big smile. As for Atal, he is very shy and didn't dare speak with colleagues at first. It was explained to him that this was almost inevitable and that he did not have to be afraid. Little by little, he built up his courage and started asking a few questions. He made a lot of progress and noticed the changes himself. This is very positive.”

The special education trainees we met are unanimous. They would have liked to stay longer and, in the future, would like to come back to work at Compass. We wish them good luck in their further studies and hope to see them again soon!