Commenting figures released by the Office for National Statistics, which showed there has been an increase of 13.6% since last year in the number of 16-24 year-olds not in education, employment or training (NEET), Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive at the BHA, said:
"Our sector is entering a period of transition; as the flow of labour from Europe begins to decline and the prospect of a curb on future immigration draws ever closer, reaching groups such as NEETs is at the heart of our 10 year strategy to train up a domestic workforce. We plan to build on the success of campaigns we lead together with the Department for Work & Pensions, Job Centre Plus, Springboard and Premier League Football Clubs. For example, the Big Hospitality Conversation (BHC) has facilitated 67,000 new hospitality career starts for NEETs in the past three years. In fact, the 3,500 businesses who took on board the 67,000 long term unemployed under 25s through the BHC, played a big role in reducing the rates of youth unemployment. It is concerning that the rates are on the rise again. We are also deeply concerned by the Department for Education's announcement this week regarding T levels. It is appalling that Hospitality is not one of the chosen priority routes.
"Hospitality and tourism is forecast to create over half a million jobs in the next five years, and is one of the few sectors that has the low barriers to entry and the geographic reach to bring NEETs into work with meaningful career opportunities. It is time that the Department for Education and other Government Departments prioritise the hospitality industry and the careers we offer. The BHA will be taking this matter up with the Secretary of State for Education, BEIS and DWP."