The grant means that the guild, which formed earlier this year, now has 75 per cent of the money it needs to create Hospitality House, a dedicated central facility for the service industry that will drive customer service and skills training across the hospitality and retail sectors.
Employers and suppliers from the industry, who include Hilton, Compass Group UK & Ireland, Electrolux, Conti and Heineken have already stumped up £250k for the centre which could open by next summer if the rest of the funding can be attained.
Improving the image of hospitality
Suzy Jackson, executive director of the Hospitality Guild, said that the funds from the SFA would provide a 'fantastic start' in the development of Hospitality House, and that she was now working with industry to generate the additional investment needed through match funding.
“In only its first year, the Hospitality Guild is already making significant progress. The call from industry for ‘one voice for professional development’ has been overwhelming and an agenda which 23 professional bodies have aligned with. We can deliver better trained and qualified people and improve the image of hospitality by working together. What Hospitality House does is allow us to bring all of this ambition under one roof and support that across the service sector.
“The combination of seminar, meeting rooms and office spaces, a retail skills shop, and a training and demonstration kitchen, bar and reception area, provides a great training venue with the real advantage of the technology that allows us to reach businesses across the country.”
The new centre at East Finchley, which McDonald's is offering to the guild rent-free, will host training events on-site using the latest technology, but will also be able to deliver training remotely for employees.
It is hoped that the centre will give service staff within both the hospitality and retail sectors, who together employ 15 per cent of the UK's workforce, the skills they need to help their employers' businesses grow.
Jane Rexworthy, director of skills solutions and head of NSA for Retail, said there were similarities between the hospitality and retail sectors as both found it hard to recruit, train and retain staff, hence why both were working together.
“If we don’t do something to address our recruitment and training needs, our long-term security could be threatened," she said. "That is why we are working together – we know that we can combat these issues and, using the new facilities that Hospitality House will provide, we can help drive forward training and development to make our industries stronger.”