Apprenticeship week challenges stigma of pub careers

By Emily Hawkins

- Last updated on GMT

Changing attitudes: the inaugural hospitality apprenticeship week launched this week (5-9 August)
Changing attitudes: the inaugural hospitality apprenticeship week launched this week (5-9 August)
The taboo around careers in the pub sector has been challenged by industry groups during the first hospitality apprenticeship week (5-9 August).

The week was launched by the hospitality sector with the support of the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS).

HIT Training managing director Jill Whittaker said the organisation was backing the week to help change 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.” 

Even though the hospitality sector is the third largest private sector employer in the country, it is common for there to be more than 100,000 vacancies at one time.

Whittaker added: “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.”

Work to do

Research from the training provider found that more than half of 16 to 20-year-olds said they would not 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.

Employers have been encouraged to be loud and proud on social media this week and share their success stories with the hashtags FireitUp and ComeonIn. Here are some of the tweets from the pub sector.

One pub employer celebrating its apprentices this week has been Manchester-based Hydes Brewery. 

The company offers a variety of front of house and kitchen apprenticeships as well as employing apprentices at its brewery. 

It has been offering apprenticeships since the introduction of the Government Levy in April 2017. 

Laura Miller, Hyde brewery training manager, shared some of the common misconceptions about the process with The Morning Advertiser​.

She explained: “Apprenticeships are not only for new hires. Anyone in our business can choose to do one and we encourage this as part of an individual’s personal development.

 “It allows us to recognise hard work and promote from within.

Miller added: “Some people are reluctant to sign up as they think it will result in a mountain of coursework which they have to complete in their own time. 

“The reality is, most of the learning is done in a very practical, hands on way and it is done in work time…so you learn as you earn.”

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