With unemployment one of the biggest challenges facing young people today, hospitality industry bosses and apprentices welcomed Tourism Minister MP Helen Grant to an event designed to help drive awareness of hospitality as a career.
The event took place at the House of Saint Barnabus, a members’ club in Soho that works with Benugos (Baxter Storey) to support London’s Homeless people back into work through their employment academy. The event was aimed at highlighting hospitality’s contribution to supporting economic recovery as well as its role in generating jobs and apprenticeships for young people.
Arranged by the British Hospitality Association (BHA), the Minister experienced first hand ‘a whistlestop day in the life tour’ of hospitality apprentices, before talking to industry bosses including Patrick Dempsey, MD of Whitbread Hotels & Restaurants, Thomas Dubaere, MD of Accor UK & Ireland, Ben Warner, Founder of Benugo’s and Ufi Ibrahim, BHA CEO.
The Big Hospitality Conversation is the industry’s flagship campaign to inspire the next generation through job creation, apprenticeships and work placements. Focusing on the thousands of young people who are looking for work, the BHA - together with Business in the Community, Springboard and leading hospitality businesses - has so far generated 36,000 new job opportunities.
Says Minister for Tourism Helen Grant: “Working in the tourism and hospitality sector can offer a rewarding, challenging and fulfilling career and the British Hospitality Association’s Big Conversation initiative is playing a part in highlighting the opportunities available to young people. The apprentices I have met at the House of Saint Barnabus have shown tremendous enthusiasm and it has been encouraging to hear the importance industry leaders are placing on this scheme making it a win win situation for both young people and those businesses involved.”
Says Ufi Ibrahim, BHA CEO: “The Minister has shown that she understands the economic importance of hospitality and its particular strength in generating jobs for young people. Indeed, the success of Hospitality and Tourism businesses relies on their ability to serve others. As Bill Marriott once said, we must serve our people, who will in turn serve others. The Big Hospitality Conversation initiative has been designed to show how young people’s lives can be turned around, one apprenticeship, one job or one work experience at a time. Our mission is to get more 16-24 year olds into work, to help them to get work-based qualifications and show school children the potential as hospitality as a career.”
Says Thomas Dubaere, Managing Director, Accor UK and Ireland: “We are keen to highlight the vast opportunities that hospitality has to offer young people in the UK. We have welcomed the chance to discuss this with the Minister and hope we have been able to show the real difference that hospitality can make to unemployment through apprenticeships, structured work placements and job creation.”
Says Patrick Dempsey OBE, MD Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants: "Hospitality is a vibrant growing industry with a lot to offer. At Premier Inn we are committed to getting young people into work and giving them the opportunities they deserve to develop their skills and build their careers. Premier Inn is a huge supporter of 'The Big Hospitality Conversation' and we've pledged to create 8,000 jobs, 2,000 apprenticeships and 4,500 work placements by 2018.
"There is a huge pool of talent in the 16-24 age group and we are committed to helping raise awareness amongst the 1 million young people that are unemployed, not in education or training, offering significant opportunities for them to join and develop their careers within the hospitality industry. We will train young people, provide them with qualifications and long term prospects within a sustainable and thriving industry.
"We welcome the support of the Tourism Minister to the 'Big Hospitality Conversation' and for supporting us in raising awareness of the job and career opportunities that exist within our sector."
In the past 18 months over 1,500 industry representatives have attended Big Hospitality Conversation events across the UK, pledging the creation of over 36,000 new jobs between now and 2015 (with more to come).