Hospitality Ulster joins UKH to combat labour shortages

By Gary Lloyd contact

- Last updated on GMT

Partnership formed: Hospitality Ulster Workforce Strategy launch – (l-r) Stephen Magorrian (vice-chair Hospitality Ulster), Kate Nicholls, Gordon Lyons and Colin Neill
Partnership formed: Hospitality Ulster Workforce Strategy launch – (l-r) Stephen Magorrian (vice-chair Hospitality Ulster), Kate Nicholls, Gordon Lyons and Colin Neill

Related tags: Legislation, Finance, Pubco + head office

Hospitality Ulster and teamed up with UKHospitality (UKH) to launch its a workforce strategy to upskill the sector staff in Northern Ireland in a bid to tackle labour shortages.

The scheme focuses on five key areas: recruitment, skills and training, staff wellbeing, image of the sector and infrastructure.

Hospitality Ulster hopes the NI Executive will reflect on the action plan by “bringing forward the much-needed bespoke hospitality strategy, aimed at providing the right resources required to ensure the sector recovers post-pandemic”.

The strategy was launched at a Stormont event on Monday (27 June) where leaders of the hospitality sector joined with speakers including UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls and NI economy minister Gordon Lyons.

Exterior challenges

It comes as the hospitality sector contends with a number of exterior challenges including the increased raw material costs and surging energy bills, VAT rates returning to 20%, high business rates, a tightening labour market and a dip in disposable income for consumers due to the cost-of-living crisis.

Hospitality Ulster chief executive Colin Neill said: “The hospitality sector is people-centric. It is our staff who make our pubs, restaurants, hotels and coffee shops the lively, exciting locations that consumers choose to spend their social time in. The ongoing workforce crisis is a real catastrophe for business especially in the current climate and is curtailing the sector’s ability to recover and revitalise post-pandemic.

“The workforce strategy provides tangible solutions and actions that can be brought forward to focus in on the sector’s vibrancy as an employer and provides tools that can be used to promote roles in the sector for the next generations of workforce.”

Essential service

UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Working in partnership with our sister organisation Hospitality Ulster, we are proud to have developed this vital strategy with our hope being that it will provide the basis for the rebuild and renewal of the sector.

“Hospitality simply cannot run without people. From bartenders to chefs, and marketers to managers, each and every person in hospitality provides an essential service requiring skill and knowledge. Across the UK we are in a staffing crisis due to a combination of circumstances including a tightening global labour market, the impact of Covid and perceptions some may have of the industry.

“Hospitality is a great career choice, an industry filled with hard-working, exciting people bringing new, innovative ideas to boost the industry’s offer. A thriving workforce will only further elevate the hospitality industry across the UK and create not just a better sector, but a better society for all.”

Related topics: Rebuilding the Pub Sector

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