It’s not every day you get to appear on TV, and not something I’d really ever aspired to doing. But when the opportunity came up to showcase what we do here at The Wiggly Worm and raise more awareness around disability in the workplace, to several million people, alongside one of the best two-star Michelin chefs, it seemed like a bit of a no-brainer.
Kitchen Impossible with Michel Roux Jnr is a new series on Channel 4 – Thursday’s at 9pm. It involves us (Rob Rees the founder of The Wiggly Worm and me) working alongside Michel with a group of eight young adults, who have a range of disabilities and challenging conditions, as they aim to secure jobs in the hospitality industry.
Our mission here at The Wiggly Worm is to help improve the health, well-being and self-esteem of vulnerable and disadvantaged people. What the programme demonstrates are the behaviour change concepts we embrace through our own Kitchen Challenge project.
We believe that everyone has individual strengths or skills that can be transferred to the workplace – they just need the opportunity to identify them. For six years now we have been selling Kitchen Challenge to really empower people with difference to be more positive in their lives and have a better chance to get a career. The production team heard of our work and approached us, and together we developed a Kitchen Challenge for them and Michel Roux Jnr.
Learning everything from how to boil an egg, to cooking the perfect steak or silver service and front of house, the programme follows the journey of the group as they are taught the essential skills that will help them in their goal to find employment within the industry.
The episodes echo what we offer through the Kitchen Challenge process, taking a participant out of their comfort zone to think hard about their motivations and aspirations. It encourages reflection and correction in attitudes, behaviours, assets and life goals. Without fail it takes every individual towards a better place ready for meaningful employment and other experiences. It can also help employers understand how to develop an agreement with potential employees who may require adaptations, technology or other practical support to do their job.
We know that we need to do more in the catering industry to embrace equality within its workforce, but every industry and sector needs to consider how it can do more. Whether it is mental health, or a physical or learning disability, there is certainly scope for adjustment and opportunity for #jobs4all. The Wiggly Worm team can help any sector to develop an #employerconsensus.
I hope you enjoy the series and the stories it evokes.
You can catch up with the series here and watch episode two tonight at 9pm on Channel 4.