Hospitality sector must change image, says workforce report

By Emily Hawkins

- Last updated on GMT

Perception shift: the report recommends cross-industry partnerships to boost the reputation of hospitality careers
Perception shift: the report recommends cross-industry partnerships to boost the reputation of hospitality careers

Related tags ukhospitality brexit Parliament

Changing the perception of the hospitality industry is key to securing its workforce, a cross-parliamentary report has recommended.

A labour shortage and uncertainty about Brexit were sector challenges addressed in the Hospitality Workforce Commission 2030​ report, commission by UKHospitality in collaboration with a cross-party group of politicians.

Nine recommendations include an outreach campaign, an immediate review into apprenticeships and contract flexibility.

Aims for the sector include the creation of an additional 66,000 jobs and up to 200,000 apprenticeships, in the face of challenges brought about by a “demographic deficit” of young workers and a stigma towards hospitality careers.

Michael Tomlinson MP, chair of a parliamentary group for youth employment, said the industry was not currently viewed “as a career in of itself”, with recommendations to increase outreach relationships with the Department of Work & Pensions and schools.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Implementing the recommendations will allow us to more effectively provide careers and opportunities, particularly for harder-to-place workers, and help the Government hit its apprenticeship target.

“With political and economic instability in the aftermath of Brexit, this is too good an opportunity for the Government to miss.”

Apprenticeship scrutiny 

Smaller businesses struggle to fund apprentices, the report concluded. An urgent review of the Apprenticeship Levy, increasing the transfer fund cap to 50% and addressing costs of off-the-job training were recommended.

Michael Chambers, an apprentice chef at Park Plaza Hotels, told MPs and trade representatives his apprenticeship had given him confidence and allowed him to prove himself while paying his bills.

Publicans reported an access disparity in promoting careers to young people. Yummy Pub Co said on-licensed premises were prevented from providing careers advice to students because of concerns it would expose under-18s to alcohol.

Nicholls said there was "an outdated perception of what the pub sector is,” despite the significance of food increasing.

She told The Morning Advertise​r: “The opportunities for experiences working in a busy hospitality environment in the pub sector are just as broad as they are in a casual-dining environment or or hotel, and nobody raises it in connection with that.

"The idea that just because there is alcohol present there's an inherent danger is false. Equally, those employers and those companies are well used to running a well regulated environment where children are protected.

“It's about educating not just politicians but the media, careers advisers and schools about the wealth of opportunities pub provide so that we can do that community outreach.”

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