Top award for academy that helps youngsters

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The Independent Online

An academy that trains thousands of underprivileged youngsters to work in restaurants and hotels has been crowned winner of an awards scheme that recognises the highest standards of social responsibility and employee engagement.

The De Vere Academy of Hospitality, led by Kellie Rixon, its managing director, picked up the prize last Friday, in the Peer Awards for Excellence 2012, which are sponsored by The Independent.

With the result announced at a champagne reception in central London, De Vere beat off competition from much larger organisations including British Gas, BP and Lloyds Banking Group.

Runners-up included Speechly Bircham, the City law firm that educates children and their parents to manage their privacy online, the South East Coaching and Mentoring Network, Tearfund and the FPA.

Those shortlisted included firms such as McDonald's, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Thomson Reuters and Mitie, the outsourcing specialist.

They were being judged on schemes that support youth, train staff, build financial literacy, take talent programmes into communities that wouldn't otherwise benefit from them, champion carbon reduction and link meaningfully with charities.

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