Under the VQ Day business commitment, the hospitality firms have agreed to ensure that they will undertake at least one of the following initiatives over the next 12 months:
- Offer work placements to 16-18 year-olds
- Give employees the chance to give talks at local schools or colleges, offer mentoring or advice on interview techniques
- Host a breakfast meeting with local schools or colleges and discuss working relationships and the needs of the local market
- Provide project or coursework materials to local schools, colleges or training providers
- Sign up to the Million Extra apprenticeship scheme
Peter Mitchell, the interim chief executive of Edge, the independent education foundation, said the support of employers was 'vital' for students on vocational courses.
“Vocational qualifications have never been more important to the economy; they deliver trained, talented employees and ensure young people have the skills needed to succeed in education and work," he said.
"Commitment from UK employers is vital for those studying VQs and we welcome these organisations’ undertaking to put greater focus on vocational education in the next 12 months. We would like to thank those who have signed already and encourage more employers to follow their lead.”
Hotel group De Vere is one of the leaders in supporting young people entering the hospitality industry. Its fifth Academy of Hospitality opened in Greenwich last month to help it achieve its goal of training 10,000 16-24 year-olds to work in the hospitality sector over the next three years.
De Vere, along with Whitbread and M&B, joined a host of companies, including Cisco, BAE Systems and Astra Zeneca at the VQ Day Roundtable event at Westminster Kingsway College on 22 June to sign the agreement and take part in a discussion on how vocational education can be ingrained into business and how its perceptions can continue to be improved.