Today the Mayor of London got Apprenticeship Week cooking in the capital by revealing plans to create 7,000 new apprenticeship positions in the catering industry. The announcement takes him a step closer to achieving his target of 250,000 apprenticeships in London by 2016.
The Mayor was at the Premier Inn in Leicester Square where he was joined by the British Hospitality Association who have pledged to create 7,000 new apprenticeships in the city by the end of 2016. To mark the occasion, the Mayor joined two young Premier Inn apprentices and helped them serve breakfast to guests at the hotel.
Getting young Londoners into jobs is top of the agenda at City Hall and the Mayor has invested over £2.5m on promoting and helping to create apprenticeships in the past two years alone. Having achieved around 160,000 new apprenticeships so far, the Mayor is working closely with the National Apprenticeship Service and the capital’s employers to hit his target of a quarter of a million apprenticeship positions across London by the end of his Mayoral term.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Thanks to London’s international appeal as a top tourist destination, hospitality is one of the city’s boom industries and it is superb to have the support of the British Hospitality Association in supporting 7,000 more young Londoners into a great career and helping to meet the demand for a skilled and dedicated workforce in this field. Apprenticeships not only help young people get a foot on the career ladder, they boost businesses with an eager, committed workforce – I urge all London’s firms to grasp the opportunity and take on an apprentice.”
London is one of the top tourist destinations in the world with millions of visitors expected this year. Tourism now contributes £36 billion to the capital each year and employs over 700,000 people, and this is expected to continue to increase. The hospitality industry is forecast to grow by over 16 per cent by 2020, which will mean a huge demand for a skilled and loyal workforce that the pledge by the British Hospitality Association will come some way to meeting.
Ufi Ibrahim, CEO of the British Hospitality Association said: “As well as investing in young Londoners, the hospitality and tourism industry is sowing the seeds for its own future by nurturing young talent and helping to stimulate economic growth. By working collectively to tackle youth unemployment in London and across the UK, the Big Hospitality Conversation has generated quality work experience, apprenticeships and jobs for 16-24 year olds. Support from our Mayor will be instrumental in achieving our ambitions to create 7,000 apprenticeships for 16-24 year olds by the end of 2016 and showcasing the exciting, meaningful and rewarding careers can be built in the hospitality industry.”
Someone who knows the value of apprenticeships is Patrick Dempsey the Managing Director of Whitbread hotels which employs hundreds of apprentices across the UK. Patrick started his own career in the hospitality industry 35 years ago at the bottom rung of the ladder and worked his way up to become the managing director of the largest hotel company in the UK, a true inspiration to young people starting out in their careers in this field.
Patrick Dempsey said "At Premier Inn we know the huge value that apprentices bring to businesses. Today’s announcement directly reflects our own commitment to creating opportunities for young people. Over the next five years we will be creating 2,000 new apprenticeships and 8,000 jobs. Half of our new team members are recruited from the long term unemployed and 16-24 year old age bracket and through the 'Big Hospitality Conversation' we are dedicated to providing opportunities for all age groups within the hospitality industry. The support of Boris Johnson at the start of National Apprenticeship Week can only add to the profile we are giving the 'BHC' and we welcome his support."
Hassan an apprentice at the Premier Inn in Leicester Square said: “I went to college but didn't really think about what I wanted to do, chose the wrong subject and ended up dropping out. I was on Jobseekers on and off, doing little jobs to get by. After being rejected for so many jobs I found myself feeling very down. I was hired for Premier Inn with the NEETs programme which was launched before the Olympics and was given my first ever chance in life, based on my personality and human nature. I feel I am part of the legacy that the Olympics has left behind - a young man who has career ambitions and a chance in life.”
To support the British Hospitality Association in meeting their pledge the Mayor will be running a campaign to promote apprenticeships across the city this year and City Hall will host the Big Hospitality Conversation event at City Hall in September, bringing together influential industry leaders from the top hospitality businesses with young people.
National Apprenticeship Week runs from 3 – 7 March 2014. To find out more about the Mayor’s apprenticeship scheme visit the Greater London Authority website www.london.gov.uk or view the Mayors 2020 Vision www.london.gov.uk/mayor-assembly/mayor/vision-2020