At-risk youth will learn hospitality and culinary skills through OzHarvest’s Nourish Program.

A new two-year agreement between InterContinental Hotels Group and food rescue organisation OzHarvest will work to help minimise food waste and boost hospitality skills and career opportunities of disadvantaged young people.

As part of IHG’s ‘Giving for Good’ month, the ‘Awesome Partnership’ with OzHarvest will sponsor a minimum of ten placements through OzHarvest’s Nourish Program which bestows Certificate II and III qualifications to disadvantages young Australians. On completion, students will have the chance to gain on-site work experience at IHG properties through mentoring, site visits, work experience and opportunities to learn from the company’s food and beverage leaders.

The placements will also help IHG to fill shortfalls in the labour market currently being experienced across the industry, with new talent and career opportunities being offered to hungry young people eager to get their foot in the door.

The move follows IHG’s pledge to eliminate plastic amenity bottles across its entire hotel network.

A second part of the agreement will see OzHarvest’s Food Rescue Program supported by IHG, with hotels sending its excess edible food stock to provide healthy and nutritious meals through a variety of partner charities and onward to less fortunate Australians struggling to put food on the table.

IHG Managing Director Australasia and Japan, Leanne Harwood, said the company had a responsibility to contribute to a sustainable future.

“We put sustainability at the forefront of all our thinking and have made some big commitments to energy, water, food and plastic reduction – but we can’t do it alone. That’s why this partnership is so important to us. OzHarvest are the experts who already make a huge difference in Australia every day, so it made complete sense to partner with them.”

As part of IHG’s ‘Giving For Good’ initiative, the company’s global hotel network raised more than $400,000 internally via staff contributions for OzHarvest, with a further $25,000 coming from a number of other initiatives across IHG’s Australian network.

OzHarvest CEO and Founder, Ronni Kahn, said the involvement of IHG was a significant boost to the success of its programs.

“Not only does it make sense that we work together to rescue surplus food and feed hungry Australians, it also means we can give more young people the opportunity to go through life-transforming skills training and get experience in an IHG hotel. It’s an extraordinary opportunity for a young person who would never have that experience without the synergies between IHG and OzHarvest.”