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4th August 2022

Ben’s Original starts scholarship to help black hospitality workers

Written by: Edward Waddell
Ben’s Original has introduced a new scholarship in the UK to help black hospitality workers to further enhance their careers in the food industry.

The Seat at the Table fund aims to advance diversity in the food industry by addressing racial inequality in access to opportunities. Together with education provider Leiths School of Food and Wine, the programme will offer 15 funded places on selected courses offered by the culinary institution.  

The courses range from short courses over a couple of days (food styling and knife skills) to longer accredited professional courses which run over a ten week period (chef skills, plant-based essential cooking and nutrition in culinary practice).

The Ben’s Original Seat at the Table fund was first established in the U.S. in 2020 before being launched in the UK in partnership with Be Inclusive Hospitality. Successful candidates will also be offered three hours of mentorship over the course of three months via Be Inclusive Hospitality’s scheme to provide support, knowledge sharing and personal development.

The programme is open to applicants who identify as black working in operational roles in the UK hospitality industry such as chefs, front of house or kitchen staff who are looking to further their careers in the food industry. While 17% of the UK hospitality workforce are from an ethnically diverse background, the majority are in lower paid jobs according to the Ethnic minorities in hospitality sector 2020 report.

Dave Dusangh, regional president of Mars Food Europe, said: “Everyone deserves equal access to opportunities so we can all develop, progress and succeed in a career we love. However, sadly there are still barriers that exist within society that mean this isn’t always the case for everyone.

“Within the UK hospitality industry, data shows that Black workers are underrepresented particularly in the highest paid roles and through our Ben’s Original Seat at the Table Fund we hope to create more equitable opportunities to help change that.

“We are grateful for the partnership with Be Inclusive Hospitality and Leiths School of Food and Wine in helping us to bring this programme to life as the next step in delivering on our brand's purpose - to create opportunities that offer everyone a seat at the table.” 

Applicants will need to have two years of experience working in hospitality and as part of the application process will be asked how this opportunity will help them to further their career ambition. Applicants will need to provide a written answer of 300 words about this.

Applications will close on 30 September 2022. Successful applicants will be chosen by a cross-organisation panel (made up of Mars Food, Leiths and Be Inclusive Hospitality) with finalists announced by the end of October. The classes will take place through to the end of the year and into early 2023.

To find out more, and to apply, visit: