Last week saw the first ever hospitality apprenticeship week, where leading industry provides aimed to break the stigma surrounding careers in the pub sector. The week was launched by the hospitality sector with the support of the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS). Despite the hospitality industry being the third largest private sector employer in the country, it is suffering from a labour shortage and can have more than 100,000 vacancies at one time.

HIT Training managing director Jill Whittaker said the organisation was backing the week to help change young people’s attitudes amid businesses struggling to recruit. 

She said: “With the sector facing an ongoing skills shortage, it’s crucial that, as an industry, we work together to help change negative perceptions around hospitality careers. With so many vacancies to fill, apprenticeships are an effective way to attract people of all ages into the sector. They can also offer an abundance of benefits to employers, namely helping to upskill their workforce, attract new talent and improve staff retention; in turn helping them to future-proof their business.”

Research from apprenticeship provider HIT Training and recruitment website Get My First Job revealed 16 – 20-year-olds view jobs in the sector as a ‘steppingstone to another career’, having ‘limited career prospects’ and as ‘a part-time job while studying’. 53% of the of the 243 respondents said that they wouldn’t consider a career in hospitality.

Whittaker said: “With this in mind, the industry’s collective focus needs to be on inspiring the younger generation to get them considering a career that supports their passion and provides endless opportunities.  And it’s not just the well-known roles that need promoting, it’s the positions in marketing, finance, restaurant design and brewing, for example, that really demonstrate the breadth of opportunities available in the industry. We have a duty of care to showcase what a career in hospitality can offer to the next generation of employees, ensuring jobs in this industry live up to this promise by offering competitive pay and flexible working.”

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls explained the pressure on pubs and other hospitality businesses to recruit was on the rise.

She said: “There are increasing challenges in recruiting and an expected shortfall in labour, due to demographic changes, both in an ageing population, resulting in fewer young people, and migration. The industry recognises its responsibility to help improve the image of careers in hospitality and to invest in training and skills development. Apprenticeships are a key part of promoting hospitality as a career of choice and providing an alternative pathway into senior level roles, as well as entry level.”

A Government tourism-sector deal will support a creation of an additional 10,000 apprenticeships for people looking to begin careers in the tourism and hospitality sectors. The landmark deal will see the creation of a Hospitality and Tourism Skills Board which will work to promote these sectors as a career of choice. It will support and fund a three-year industry-led skills and recruitment campaign that can help change the way the industry provides careers.

Photo by Jesús Terrés on Unsplash