The hospitality sector 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 last week at the first in a planned series of ‘Big Conversations in Hospitality’ events, which brought together over 140 young people and senior hospitality executives.
Big Conversation in Hospitality was organised by Thistle Hotels, Whitbread and a number of other hospitality companies, in conjunction with Springboard UK and the British Hospitality Association (BHA), and aims to encourage more hospitality companies to introduce structured work placements and apprenticeships for 18- to 24-year-old unemployed.
Patrick Dempsey, managing director of Whitbread’s hotels and restaurants division, 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 apprenticeships this year. He urged other companies to make similar pledges.
Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the BHA, said the immediate future was important if the Big Conversation initiative was to succeed. “Given the right framework, our research shows that hospitality can generate 236,000 jobs by 2015,” she said, “which is half the government’s youth contract target for the next three years.
“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.
She added: “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.”