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Employee of the Month


At Innovate we take great pride in whatever we do to ensure our students enjoy nutritious, fresh, healthy and tasty food every day. This takes hard work and dedication and we recognise each and every Innovate employee going the extra mile in their daily tasks.


May 2018

Fiona Powell – Millford Primary 

Fiona joined Innovate in September of 2017 as a relief General Assistant, however it soon became apparent that she was capable of doing much more than what was expected of her and she quickly stepped into a more senior role running the wonderful Milford Primary school in Surrey.

Since then she has an additional primary under her belt, which includes a delivered in service, and she always goes above and beyond her day to day responsibilities. Whether she is hosting lovely tea parties for the Royal Wedding or engaging with parents about dietary requirements and allergens, Fiona’s story is testament that with the right attitude one can certainly make a name for yourself at Innovate.

Thank you Fiona for your continued hard work and support for your site. Congratulations as employee of there month – you definitely deserve it!


April 2018

John Gilligan 

Many of you have already met John, but for those of you who haven’t, let us tell you that he is one of our newest Operations Support staff and also one of Innovate’s brightest stars. This guy is perpetually happy and smiling no matter what challenges he is facing at the time.

His calm and relaxed presence has helped many teams across the country to deliver our fabulous daily offer or VIP hospitality events.

John has also been an integral part of several new primary school mobilisations, and afterwards we have received wonderful feedback from the children and teachers asking when he will be back in their school.

We can also confidently speak on behalf of both Wendy and Jethro, whose sites he has helped cover – “we would simply be lost without him!”

John, we are very lucky to have you at Innovate and we all want to thank you for your hard work and your dedication to your role.

March 2018

Kayleigh Ann Sparkes-Smith – Milford

Kayleigh joined Innovate just 4 short months ago but has already made a huge impact. The primary service at Milford is cooked on-site for the 200 students of the school. The team also now cook for another 200 students and have this delivered to Moss Lane Primary down the road. For a team of 3, this is quite a feat and when they suddenly found themselves one down, Kayleigh and Chef Manager Fiona pulled together and ensured the service was faultless and the food remained delicious.

Fiona wrote to us a few weeks ago:

“Kayleigh is the most conscientious worker I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. her work ethic is second to none. I never have to ask or prompt her to do anything in the kitchen. One day she will be a fantastic manager without a doubt. She really is a fantastic worker and I woke up this morning to a whole list of times and dates as to when she can come in early to help out and do overtime – All of this is completely off her own back. I know I could leave everything in that kitchen to Kayleigh and I wouldn’t have to check if it was done properly.. because she’s so conscientious about everything.

Our dear ex-colleague left suddenly, but Kayleigh handled the situation really well, remained calm and professional and worked her socks off to make sure the children were fed. She’s brilliant!”

We are thrilled to give Kayleigh the March award and on behalf of all of us at Innovate, want to thank her for her continued efforts.

February 2018

Neil Armstrong – Bourne End

A big congratulations to Neil Armstrong at Bourne End for winning Employee of the Month for February.

Unlike his namesake, Neil hasn’t walked on the moon, but the students and teachers at The Meadows primary think he’s out of this world!

He provides a fantastic delivered in offer from Bourne End and has received great praise from all involved. This rising star is sure to be a future Innovate Manager before long.

Thanks Neil for your hard work and dedication to the role. Your efforts are greatly appreciated and we hope you use your prize vouchers to take a night off from the kitchen.


January 2018

Debbie Clarke – (Chef) Bishop Thomas Grant

Debbie has been with Innovate since March 2015 and many more years before that with Bishop Thomas Grant. Debbie was recently promoted as Chef and in this position, she has managed to earn, very quickly, a lot of compliments for her cooking and her great service attitude towards the students and staff at school. She is also known to be a wonderful team player and have helped on many hospitality events and have stepped up to do duties beyond her role to cover absence.

Congratulations Debbie. Well done and thank you for all your hard work and commitment.

December 2017

Charmaine Richardson

Since joining us in 2014, after taking an extended period away from working due to an accident and after admittedly a shaky start, Charmaine has embraced her role and goes above and beyond her duties to ensure that our 4 Primaries and 3 Nursery schools are provided with the standard of service expected by Innovate.

She caters for a number of special diets in each school on an everyday basis, and since coming back in September has done so while being a member of staff down on her team. Her constant dedication ensures the precise almost military running of the service, and last week running Christmas Dinners for individual Primaries whilst doing the normal menu for the other primaries was a task even the most proficient cook would have struggled with!

Her role is a very physically demanding one, and each time we have added another school/nursery to her numbers, she has taken it in her stride and just risen to the challenge!

Congratulations from Bryan Lygate and Susan Russell.

September 2017

Jethro Meyer – General Manager, George Abbot School

We are glad to announce the winner of September’s Employee of the Month is Jethro Meyer.

Jethro hails from South Africa and moved to the UK in 2005. He grew up in the restaurant trade and managed various pubs and restaurants before starting his career in November 2014 as a General Manager of George Abbot School.

For the past 3 years Jethro has worked tirelessly to create an exemplary and profitable unit with two service points and a 6th Form Café, serving 2,200 students a day and managing a team of 15 staff. In recent months he has been training his team to a very high standard, and is now poised to take on a role in Operations.

Somehow he manages to find time on the weekend and in the holidays to run his own successful business as a Wedding DJ too.

A huge thanks Jethro for your continued efforts, we are thrilled to have you as part of the Innovate family.


March 2017

Leahnora Moon – Office Manager, Innovate Business Support Centre

It gives us great pleasure to announce Leahnora Moon as Innovate March Employee of the Month.

Leahnora was nominated for her politeness, commitment to help at all times, professionalism, dedication and being a thoroughly lovely person at all times!

She receives a fab box of chocolates, champagne as well as M&S vouchers.

Thank you Leahnora, your hard work as well as your tremendous attitude are much appreciated and valued.

February 2017

Davinder Dhillon – Chef Manager, Gumley House Convent School 

Davinder has enjoyed a long and fruitful career with Innovate and is currently based at Gumley House, working as Chef Manager.

For over 5 years, Davinder has contributed greatly to the overall success of this contract through sheer commitment and being the epitome of customer service.

She is greatly admired by her staff and has managed to create a family atmosphere within her team where everyone works hard deliver a great food experience for our students and staff.

At a recent hospitality event parents voted her dish as ‘the best curry in Hounslow’. Given the fact the vicinity has 83 curry houses, this is fine praise indeed!

Thank you Davinder, your hard work, dedication and fabulous standards are greatly appreciated.

January 2017

Martyn Welch – Chef Manager Kenilworth College

Martyn started nearly three years ago as an Assistant Manager and has now worked his way up to an Academy Mentor. He has shown nothing but determination to deliver fabulous standards and further his career within Innovate. In recent months Martyn has supported other managers within his region.

Martyn has become the go to person when managers need advice. Martyn has been going to sites to train numerous managers on delivering Governors Canape receptions, been on the end of the phone to answer any questions from managers,  helping managers with their COGS and coaching and supporting his Assistant Manager being promoted to Chef Manager level.

Martyn has not only proven himself as a great manager but raised his team to the standard to allow him to leave the unit and support other managers around the company.

Daniele Okeke

December 2016

Daniele Okeke – Bishop Thomas Grant

Our Employee of the Month for December 2016 was awarded to Daniele Okeke from Bishop Thomas Grant.

Daniele started working with us in May 2016 and in this short time has made everyone love him for his great attitude to work, his willingness to help without being asked and being an overall team player. His smile and politeness is known to all students, colleagues and school staff alike.

Thank you Daniele, your hard work and great attitude to work is much appreciated.