Speaking at the House of Commons last week, People 1st chairman David Fairhurst said apprenticeships will play a key role in addressing the critical skills challenge faced by the industry.
“By 2017, the sector will have grown into one which employs 2.4 million people, so we’ll need to continue to grow our people and, as a means of growing our people, apprenticeships will continue to perform an important role in maintaining the highest standards of training and development,” Fairhurst told over 200 delegates.
John Penrose, Minister for Tourism added that the hospitality sector plays a key role in driving the UK’s economy, and this is also clear to the Prime Minister.
Better skills drive economic growth, leading to a higher quality experience for customers.”
People 1st, which promotes careers in the hospitality sector, said operators need to have apprenticeships at the heart of their business to ensure their success in the future.
The group launched a six-point strategy to help the sector successfully use apprenticeships. Its key objectives are:
- Ensure that apprentices are effectively prepared to start an apprenticeship
- Ensure that apprenticeships are robust and reflect the needs of the sector
- Reduce unnecessary barriers to employers offering apprenticeships and apprentices completing them
- Help retain apprentices on apprenticeship programmes
- Raise the demand for higher level apprenticeships
- Raise awareness of the Asian and Oriental specialist chef routes within the Professional Chef apprenticeship to support employers with responding to changes in migration policy
Barcelo Hotels has adopted the use of apprenticeships in its wider business, and HR director Des Lawson says the results can start to be felt within a year.
“Nowadays, the apprenticeship framework is far more flexible and employer-friendly – you can add onto them, tailor them and make sure they fit the business needs as well as those of the individual going through the qualification. My advice to other employers is to commit to apprenticeships – the benefits far outweigh the costs and generally we see direct returns within 12 months.”
The group says initial results from the programme show significant improvement in decision-making, higher levels of confidence and improved business knowledge.