Industry calls for Government to promote hospitality careers

Brigid Simmonds

Attendees of this year’s Hospitality Apprenticeship Showcase declared that more needs to be done to promote career opportunities in the hospitality and brewing industries.

The event, which took place at the House of Commons on Wednesday during National Apprentice Week, was organised by the Perception Group.

Over 115 MPs and 200 young apprentices from across the hospitality industry attended this year’s showcase, which has doubled in size to see a broad spectrum of employers and industry bodies in attendance, representing pubs, bars, hotels and casual dining restaurants, plus the brewing industry and drinks manufacturers.

The Hospitality Apprenticeship Showcase provided a platform to champion the career opportunities available in the sector and present some of the new and enterprising initiatives that are being developed by employers to attract new talent and secure future skills.

The companies represented were keen to point out that more needs to be done to promote the opportunities provided by vocational learning in the pub and brewing industries, as well as the wider hospitality sector.

During the event, MPs took part in a live survey which showed that 65% are aware that the UK hospitality industry employs 3.2 million people.

However, only 37% correctly identified that the industry employs 9,000 apprentices; 48% thought the figure was 3,000 and 15% thought it was 1,000.

When asked whether they had ever worked in a pub, 59% of MPs said that they had, and 84% of those said that they learnt something about the industry from that experience.

Apprentice from Greene King serving up the perfect pint
Apprentice from Greene King serving up the perfect pint

Keith Knowles OBE, chair of Perceptions Group, said: “In its third year, the Hospitality Showcase unites companies to portray the diverse range of roles within the sector and to reiterate to government the importance of cross-party support to ensure the hospitality sector has the right foundations to continue to thrive in our towns, cities and villages.

“However, we need a cohesive strategy across government departments to help hospitality. In particular, our education system needs to better understand and embrace the career opportunities and the flexibility that roles within hospitality offer and the range of entry levels open to all.

“From traineeships, apprenticeships, to graduate programmes, this industry offers hope and scope across a range of abilities.

“A more joined up approach will enable this industry to develop home grown talent, as well as offer reassurance to companies who continue to invest in all areas of hospitality, offering real jobs that can fit flexible lifestyles as well as create the business leaders of the future.”

Brigid Simmonds (pictured), chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, added: “As someone who didn’t go to university, I am a great believer in apprenticeships and fundamentally believe they should not be seen as second best to degrees. It is essential that everyone recognises this across Government and educational establishments.

“Events like the Hospitality Apprenticeship Showcase play a very important role in shifting perceptions and showing how apprenticeships add enormous value to sectors like brewing and pubs, but it is the apprentices themselves who made the event so special.

“There is, however, more that Government can do to reduce the bureaucracy around the use of the Apprenticeship Levy and this was a real opportunity for us all to convince them that our sector is creating high value, skilled roles.

“We have varied and exciting careers in hospitality and we are at the forefront of raising productivity and enhancing the future of UK Plc.”

Yoandry Martinez Thomas, apprentice sous chef at Hilton Hotels
Yoandry Martinez Thomas, apprentice sous chef at Hilton Hotels
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