Hospitality businesses target jobseekers as unemployment falls

Ufi CEO of the British Hospitality Association at Avenue Resturant in Westminster , London 07/08/14 Photographer : Sonja Horsman

Bed & breakfast and other hospitality businesses in areas of the UK with above-average unemployment have been invited to participate in a discussion with jobseekers about the potential of a career in the sector.

The initiative in Pembrokeshire is organised by the British Hospitality Association (BHA) and is aimed at addressing growing employment concerns, one of these being that the end of free movement when we leave the EU will give rise to a shortage of worked available to support he hospitality sector.

Hospitality businesses in Pembrokeshire will have the opportunity to inspire young jobseekers to take up a career in the industry at the Big Hospitality Conversation due to be held at Bluestone Resorts on Monday 12 March.

ONS figures show UK unemployment levels are continuing at a record low of 4.6%, and with freedom of movement set to end in 2019 on our departure from the EU, businesses are facing increasing difficulties in finding skilled staff and the demand among operators is at an all-time high.

The BHA is addressing these difficulties through conversations with government urging for hospitality T-levels to be brought forward from its scheduled roll-out in 2022, and with initiatives such as the Big Hospitality Conversation; bringing hospitality leaders and young people together to showcase the potentials of a career in hospitality.

To highlight the choice available to young jobseekers, the BHA together with Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) and Springboard are bringing the Big Hospitality Conversation to Pembrokeshire, where youth unemployment is at 25%. Local businesses will have the chance to talk to jobseekers about the great prospects available and discuss the enormous possibilities for professional development and advancement within the sector.

The Big Hospitality Conversation, which provides a setting that encourages discussion between businesses and jobseekers, has already connected over 4,000 Executives and HR Directors across the UK with young jobseekers to facilitate 67,000 new hospitality career starts since its inception in 2015.

Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association said: “There are few industries that can match the career prospects offered by hospitality to entrants of all skill levels, but hospitality careers are not actively promoted in the UK as much as they should be.  Given the right support from businesses and government, prioritising hospitality recruitment and development of British workers, the industry has the potential to fill the gap left by EU workers once freedom of movement has stopped.”

Bluestone CEO William McNamara said: “When the British Hospitality Association asked us to host this event, naturally we were delighted. We see this as a wonderful opportunity to work with the BHA and its many members to find positive solutions to the challenges we all face within the industry. Here in Wales we have the advantage of a great holiday environment, with beautiful countryside and some of the world’s most stunning beaches. The people of Wales are also naturally warm and welcoming.

“What we lack sometimes, however, is a positive outlook for the industry and a belief that a career in tourism can be one of the most rewarding. By joining at the Big Conversation event, we can tap into our collective passion for tourism and hospitality, and recognise that together we can create an exceptional resource for all tourism businesses across Wales.”

Anne Pierce, MBE, Chief Executive of Springboard added: “We are pleased to be a partner once again in this important initiative, at a time of particularly acute skills shortages and uncertainty about the economic future. Springboard is positioned well to connect its employer partners with people looking to gain work experience, learn about apprenticeships or gain employment. The Big Hospitality Conversation and the associated wider communications, provide a valuable opportunity to amplify the voice of the industry and the great work that we do to support it.”