No one can have missed the hint of panic about finding great hospitality staff. But are we really looking in all the places we could find them?

My plea to employers is to think more widely and encourage your managers to consider the less obvious talent pools.

My wife was involved with a social enterprise café that helps overlooked people into work and training. This included people leaving prison.

One individual, with kitchen skills learnt in prison, worked in café kitchen. He created and prepared meals as part of the ‘working out’ scheme, ahead of his release. He showed real talent, interest, and commitment in the 9 months he had spent working at the cafe.

But, on his release, was offered accommodation miles away from the café which meant he would no longer be able to work there. Because of the conditions of his parole, he had few options.

After much thought we offered a room in our house – mainly so he could keep his job at the café.

He lived with us for six months as he readjusted to life outside prison and began to make a transition to living independently.

We didn’t know him when he moved in but we knew he had shown potential and commitment to developing new skills. We hoped it would work out for him, and us and it did.

I’m delighted that he’s now built a new life. He’s living in his own home with a job as a chef in an aspirational restaurant and is settled with a partner and a new baby.

As the talent net tightens, employers need to open their eye wider to make sure they don’t miss the candidates from less obvious places. It’s not what you have been that counts but what you could become.