Hospitality and tourism should be given greater prominence by educators, says hospitality chiefs, as new figures show the sector is at the heart of the economic recovery, helping to cut youth unemployment and generating more jobs than manufacturing or construction, education, health or social work.
New employment figures published yesterday underline how hospitality and tourism created 13 new jobs per hour of every day last year. According to the ONS (Office of National Statistics), 120,000 new jobs, in other words 15 per cent of the total 820,000 new jobs created last year, were in hospitality and tourism.
Yet a stigma remains around vocational courses, despite the huge role they play in soothing Britain’s youth unemployment crisis. Researchers at the Institute for Public Policy Research this week criticised the structural imbalance that shows education is not producing people trained for the right kinds of work.
The BHA is calling for a meeting with education chiefs to look at a more formalised structure so that industry leaders can work more closely with the education establishment. The industry is proposing that education needs to become fit for UK plc and to help make this happen teachers and educators should receive more training on vocational career paths, and in particular on hospitality careers. The BHA is offering to work with educators to help provide this teacher training for the hospitality and tourism industry.
Ufi Ibrahim, CEO of the British Hospitality Association said: “As a successful industry with even greater growth prospects, we are facing labour shortages. Our industry could be making an even greater contribution to driving youth employment if the education system stopped hoarding young people in academia.
“There is still a snobbish snubbing of vocational opportunities, which enable young people to choose on-the-job training over purely academic courses. We are asking government to help us turn this around by involving more businesses in the classroom. Many young people are currently being trained in academia for the wrong types of jobs so we need to find a better way to showcase the real job opportunities available. For example, hospitality careers are ideally suited to helping 16-24 onto the first rung of their career ladders - the breadth of job roles available in hospitality and on-the-job training means that bright and focused young people can succeed very quickly.”
“The British Hospitality Association’s research shows that with the right policy framework in place, the hospitality sector will generate 300,000 new jobs by 2020, however the speed of job creation has exceeded even our own estimates with over one third of those new jobs now already delivered.
“As an industry already employing some three million people in the UK, the continued growth of jobs is of great significance to the UK economy and reaches hard-pressed regional communities other industries can’t such as rural, coastal, as well as inner city areas”.
Simon Vincent, Executive Vice President and President, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Hilton Worldwide says: “The labour market statistics show continued optimism and recognise the significant contribution our industry makes to the UK economy. Hospitality and tourism impacts every UK region and provides a diverse range jobs, offering huge potential for further growth in this sector across the UK – but we can only take full advantage of this if we continue to innovate and attract talented people into the industry.”
Patrick Dempsey, Managing Director of Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants says: "The hospitality industry offers a wealth of opportunities for all job seekers, regardless of their age or previous experience. There are currently a large number of jobs available across a number of hospitality disciplines, and unlike many other industries higher education isn't a prerequisite. The UK Labour Market figures released today show that the hospitality industry has a powerful role to play in the fight against youth unemployment and it's imperative that the industry embraces this and continues to innovate and lead from the front when it comes to apprenticeships, work placements and youth employment. The Big Hospitality Conversation is an initiative dedicated to ensuring those searching for employment consider a role in hospitality and we at Premier Inn are proud to work closely with the British Hospitality Association to drive this forward."
Richard Lewis, CEO of Best Western GB, said: “The hospitality industry offers an extremely wide range of opportunities for school leavers. The range of skills required are diverse, varied and exciting. Statistics clearly indicate the sheer scale of our industry’s positive impact on youth employment. There are so many inspiring success stories of people who have built their careers within hospitality businesses. And there can only be positive outcomes from the BHA working more closely with educators. The whole team at Best Western GB will absolutely support the BHA’s excellent initiative.”
The BHA’s Big Hospitality Conversation – aimed at generating 60,000 new opportunities specifically for young people by 2016 – is the hospitality industry’s response to attracting young talent to the sector. To date, the Big Hospitality Conversation has engaged over 1,500 businesses and created over 34,000 new career opportunities for 16-24 year olds.