WorldSkills UK Live, the UK’s largest careers and apprentice event, has launched a dedicated Hospitality Hub, with the support of CESA, CEDA, UKHospitality and the Craft Guild of Chefs, to promote apprenticeships across UK trade sectors.

Casey Quinlan Lloyd, business development manager for WorldSkills UK Live, has put together a package for hospitality partners, offering a 50 sq m or 75 sq m ‘Have a Go’ space within the 100 sq m Hospitality Hub, with all packages including a back wall on which partners may place artwork. Partners will also benefit from branding around the event, access to live networking events, three NEC parking vouchers, a show guide and app branding (including logos). Individual companies can join for £2,500.

The three-day event will also provide an opportunity to showcase hospitality-related live skills, giving operators, suppliers, consultants and manufacturers in hospitality the chance to directly interact with students and their parents.

Previous research has shown that the hospitality sector is lacking in its appeal to younger people, and that the industry is seen as less of a career and more of a stepping stone during studies. The research showed that anti-social hours, poor career prospects and the notion of a stressful working environment are putting 18-24-year old’s off joining the industry. It is essential that employers are showcasing the numerous opportunities on offer that can develop into successful and progressive career. The notion that the industry doesn’t develop careers is making parents discouraging their children from joining.

Putting an emphasis on apprenticeships is a great to engage and encourage the younger generations to consider a career in hospitality.

Lisa Jenkins, who worked with Quinlan-Lloyd, Rigby, Keith Warren of CESA, Adam Mason of CEDA, David Sheen of UKHospitality and Andrew Green of the Craft Guild of Chefs on the original plan, explained the thinking behind the joint initiative:

“The hospitality sector, incorporating businesses that offer food, drink or overnight accommodation to customers, is a major contributor to the UK economy, employing 2.9 million people and generating £130b in economic activity. Hospitality is the third-largest private sector employer in the UK; double the size of financial services and bigger than automotive, pharmaceuticals and aerospace combined. The Hospitality Hub at Worldskills UK Live 2019 aims to unite the experts front and back of house in this sector to showcase career opportunities for young people.”

Rigby added: “The UK hospitality industry is currently experiencing a chronic shortage of labour, which, post the UK’s exit from the EU, may deteriorate further. It is vital therefore that the industry recruits’ workers in all required skills from within the UK.

“Every year more than 1,500 students at colleges and schools, studying more than 50 non-academic subjects, compete at the NEC Birmingham at Worldskills UK Live. The winners in each of the disciplines go on to represent Great Britain at WorldSkills, which is held biannually, in different locations around the world.”

The event, to be held at the Birmingham NEC from 21-23 November 2019, is a partnership between business, education and government.