Apprenticeship Week took place recently and it was the denouement of Hospitality Works 2019: a pair of valuable schemes aimed at supporting employment, retention and growth in hospitality. It was great to see so many businesses, apprentices and MPs engaged, showcasing learning about the opportunities on offer and careers in our sector.
The hospitality sector is a great employer in the UK, and pubs are on the front line. Our venues provide fantastic career opportunities in every region at many different levels. Pubs and bars from Mossbank in Shetland to St Agnes in the Isles of Scilly provide employment and opportunities with a real chance of progression. This is a sector in which you can go relatively speedily from the kitchen or bar to the boardroom if you are ambitious and driven. Our sector does not discriminate, and we are always happy to give opportunities in a true meritocracy.
The hospitality sector is the third largest private sector employer in the UK, creating one in eight of all new jobs. Unfortunately, and unfairly, we sometimes find ourselves battling unfair perceptions of a career in our sector.
It is a sad reality that too many think a job in a pub does not constitute a ‘real’ job, or that it only provides temporary employment for students and those looking for other work in the meantime. That is why schemes such as Apprenticeship Week and the Hospitality Apprenticeship Showcase, and the Hospitality Works jobs fairs, such as a recent one at Manchester United FC are so important. The former, in particular was an excellent chance to show MPs and other political influencers the kind of opportunities we provide. We are able to put policy-makers in front of employers and employees to see first-hand how we are encouraging the next generation of business leaders. It was a pleasure, this year, to see more older apprenticeships who have benefited from the chance to learn valuable and transferable skills while they earn as part of a team.
Another point we can hammer home at events such as these is the work we do in terms of diversity.
International Women’s Day provided a focal point for the challenges and opportunities that women face in all walks of life. Our sector is diverse and inclusive, but there is still work to do to provide adequate representation at senior and board levels, and workplaces must be free of harassment and prejudice. Apprenticeship schemes can be a great way of ensuring women in our sector are given the support and opportunities they deserve to rise through the ranks and excel in senior positions.
UKHospitality has plans to work with its members to achieve this. This is a great sector with fantastic stories to tell about the work we do. We just need to get better at telling them.
Interested in working in the pub industry? Then take a look at MA’s jobs site.