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COOK

Sophie O'Sullivan, about 3 weeks ago

COOK is a family business that makes remarkable food for your freezer, with a real hearty home-made quality.

Founded in 1997, they are committed to using business as a force for good. Not only do they make award-winning meals, they have a thriving business culture that aims to have a positive impact on people and the environment.

This year marks the 6thanniversary of their RAW Talent programme. It supports people into work who might otherwise struggle to find a job, including prison leavers.

RAW Talent is part of their DNA at COOK.

COOK work in partnership with referral organisations- this could be the prison service or charities- to make sure that each RAW Talent is well supported into the job.

RAW Talents take on a 'get ready' programme. This two-week practical training programme is a great introduction to life at COOK. They have the opportunity to complete five supported trial shifts, with feedback every step of the way leading up to interview. The programme looks at developing participants' communication skills, ability to set goals and deal with conflict in a healthy way, boosting self-confidence and building on their resilience.

The past does not define somebody. We are passionate believers in the fact that everybody has the potential to be amazing.

-Annie Gale, Head of RAW Talent & Apprenticeships, COOK

The programme is run by Annie,Head of RAW Talent and Apprenticeships, and John, who himself joined COOK via the RAW Talent programme over 5 years ago and is now full time in Team RAW Talent. John mentors all new RAW Talents weekly, until they are rearing to go and settled into the role.

The diversity at COOK is out of this world; they haven't looked at my shadow; they've looked at my potential.

-John Daynes, Raw Talent, Cook

Outstandingly, they've had over 90 people join the business through the RAW talent programme, with 29 employees currently in the business. 2% of their workforce are RAW Talents. In 2020, 10 people successfully graduated from the RAW Talent programme.

We've hired some fantastic people through the programme.

-Annie Gale, Head of RAW Talent & Apprenticeships, COOK

It is not easy work and there have been challenges along the way.

But by helping people who face barriers into work, they have a transformational impact on the lives of others and their culture is much richer as a result.

It was such a massive step forward for me.

-COOK employee, RAW Talent

People are at the heart of everything that COOK does. A proud Living Wage employer, COOK have recently been recognised by The Grocer Gold Awards, winning 'employer of the year.' For eight consecutive years, they have been celebrated as one of the Sunday Times' Top 100 Best Companies to Work For.

PwC have placed a spotlight on COOK's dedication to an inclusive and diverse workplace culture. Read more about John's incredible story into the business- from prison to mentor, leader and social justice champion- here.

It's refreshing to see COOK invest in meaningful jobs and our communities, building a diverse workforce that is inclusive of people with convictions. We can't wait to see what's next for COOK.

People from different backgrounds and different environments can always bring a positive.

-Miles Barrah-Lowis, Production Manager, COOK