September 07, 2012
Thousands of job opportunities for the 19-24 yr old unemployed
The hospitality Industry is pledging to reduce unemployment by offering thousands of work placements, apprenticeships and job opportunities during the next three years.
The pledges were given in London at the first of a series of Big Conversations in Hospitality – an event that brought together over 140 young people and senior hospitality industry executives.
The Big Conversation in Hospitality was organised by Whitbread and Thistle Hotels and a number of other hospitality companies in conjunction with Springboard UK and the British Hospitality Association, and aimed to encourage more hospitality companies to introduce structured work placements and apprenticeships for young 18-24 yr old unemployed.
Patrick Dempsey, managing director of Whitbread’s hotels and restaurants division, which includes Premier Inn, who chaired the event, said that Whitbread was pledging to fill half of all new jobs from the ranks of the unemployed and recruit 500 apprentices this year. He urged other companies to make similar pledges.
“The industry has very many job vacancies for youngsters and the unemployed, and has huge career opportunities at apprenticeship – and other levels – if only more young people realised this,” he said.
Other speakers – from Marriott and Compass Group – highlighted their own commitments and delegates heard from youngsters who had already been on successful work placements and apprenticeship schemes.
Anne Pierce, chief executive of Springboard UK, emphasised the importance of structuring work placements and urged employers to use Springboard’s own Inspire programme.
“Inspire is a quality standard and those companies that adopt the programme are seen to be offering great work experience,” she said.
She also emphasised the work Springboard did in influencing school children towards a career in hospitality.
“We have over 1,000 volunteers from industry from industry who work with schools and colleges encouraging youngsters to make hospitality their career,” she said
Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the BHA, said that the next steps were important if the Big Conversations initiative was to succeed.
“Given the right framework, our research shows that hospitality can generate 236,000 jobs by 2015, which is half the government’s Youth Contract target for the next three years,” she said.
“Hospitality is one of the very few industries in the UK creating jobs, apprenticeships, work placements and career opportunities. It is one of the very few industries where you can start at the bottom and excel right up to the very top.
“There are 200,000 businesses in the industry. If every business pledged to offer one work placement, and employ one more local person, we would easily meet our growth target.”
She pledged that the BHA would work with Springboard and the BiTC to roll out more Big Conversations, both regionally and sectorally, and that the central topic of the next Hospitality and Tourism Summit on 11 June 2013, organized by the BHA, would be the Big Conversation.
“The BHA is putting its pledge into action,” she said.
The Big Conversation – an initiative of the Talent and Skills Leadership Group of Business in the Community (BiTC) – one of Prince Charles’s charities – is designed to boost dialogue between employers and youngsters, helping to find jobs for the young unemployed and to encourage good work placements and apprenticeships.