White Compass Logo

Compass Partners with the Tower Project to Support People with Learning Disabilities


In England just 5.1 per cent of people with learning disabilities are in employment.[1] This has led to people with learning disabilities being defined as one of England’s most disadvantaged groups by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Whilst statistics demonstrate that people with learning disabilities are furthest from the job market, a burgeoning partnership between foodservice giant, Compass Group UK & Ireland, and East London’s leading service provider for people with learning disabilities and autism, Tower Project JET Service (JET), is highlighting that this is furthest from the truth.

The two companies have been working together over the past year, to support more people with learning disabilities to progress into employment, both within Compass and the wider hospitality sector. Since the summer Compass has worked with JET to develop pathways into employment for people with learning disabilities and autism, as well as delivering training sessions for JET’s Employment First supported internship programme.

Training includes: How to Provide Award Winning Customer Service by Managers from Rapport, award-winning guest services provider; Tea Tasting by the Head of Beverages at Restaurants Associates, Introduction to Chef Skills by the Sector Executive Chef at ESS and Afternoon Tea Preparation by the Managing Director of Payne & Gunter, the party and event catering arm. 

Graham Smithers Head of Services at JET is full of praise for the new partnership: “We cannot thank Compass Group UK and Ireland enough for their continued support. Their staff has shown real disability confidence in their delivery of both training sessions and mentoring support.

“This partnership has highlighted that jobseekers with learning disabilities and autism are an untapped talent pool that can help reduce the recruitment challenges currently facing the hospitality industry in the UK.”

Head of Apprenticeships and Early Careers at Compass Group UK and Ireland Jonathan Foot, said: “We worked closely with JET to tailor the training programme. There are so many opportunities for career development at Compass that we wanted to ensure we got this across. We’re passionate about recruiting, retaining and training our people.”

Chief People Officer at Compass Group UK and Ireland, Donna Catley, added: “As a Disability Confident employer, I believe we’re the perfect partner to help JET with its quest to enable and empower people with disabilities. We’re all about career development and inclusion at Compass, and it’s especially rewarding collaborating with JET and we wholeheartedly endorse partnerships like this.

“We hope that more hospitality and foodservice businesses are working with similar foundations to support people with disabilities to progress into employment in our great industry.”

Compass Group UK and Ireland is a Disability Confident employer, a Government scheme introduced to encourage employers to think differently about disability and improve how companies recruit, retain, and develop disabled people. Compass is committed to leading the way and providing a genuine career path within hospitality.


[1] NHS Digital: Measures from the Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework, England - 2020-21

Kazim & Shuheb (Towers Project)