Law graduate who ended up sleeping rough in Islington lands job at Pret a Manger

PUBLISHED: 12:04 06 November 2017 | UPDATED: 12:04 06 November 2017

Aristide Tankeu.

Aristide Tankeu.


A law graduate who lost his job and family and ended up sleeping rough in Islington has got his life back on track with a job at Pret a Manger.

Aristide Tankeu, 49, got his degree in his home country of Cameroon before moving to Italy and continuing his studies. Life was good – Aristide started a family and then found work in a secure job, where he stayed for 12 years.

Then he was made redundant, and to make matters worse his relationship broke down at the same time. Unable to find another job, he moved to France and then onto the UK.

Now left with no job and no home, Aristide was living in night shelters across Islington most nights. On others he was left on the street with nowhere to stay.

Then a hostel worker referred him to employment scheme The Margins Project at the Union Chapel, where he trained as a chef.

Aristide did so well on the course that he was taken on at the trainee scheme at Pret a Manger in Clerkenwell. After graduating from Pret’s Rising Star Programme, he now works full time in a Cannon Street branch.

“I have always wanted to learn how to cook,” said Aristide. “The training programme was very enjoyable. Now I can cook all sorts of things; interesting fish dishes, even a quiche!

“I have received my food safety certificate which makes it easier to find work. The chef was very calm, very supportive, other trainees were very positive and it was good to be part of a team.

“It can be very busy but everyone works together. I now see the future very positively. The Margins Project has helped me a lot. This is the beginning of a new life for me and I am determined to succeed.”

Rachel Krish, Margins’ fundraising chief, said: “Our employment programme offers real work not just training. Our chef Iraj is both a gifted cook and experienced with vulnerable people. The programme runs through the Margins Café which caters for people coming to Union Chapel for gigs and events.”

The Margins Project is backed by the London Housing Foundation, which helps homeless people find work by supporting employment agencies.


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