The Big Hospitality Conversation: Businesses urged to make job creation pledge

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Big hospitality conversation, Hotel, Employment

The Big Conversation for Hospitality is an events-led initiative providing a dialogue between senior industry leaders and young people
The Big Conversation for Hospitality is an events-led initiative providing a dialogue between senior industry leaders and young people
Tackling youth unemployment through work placements, apprenticeships and new job opportunities will be the focal point of the Big Conversation for Hospitality taking place next Friday (8 February) on behalf of the British Hospitality Association (BHA).

Held at the Grosvenor House hotel in London, the industry discussion will be the first in a series on seven events across the UK between now and June, providing an opportunity for young people to talk with key industry faces about a potential career in hospitality.

Whitbread’s managing director Patrick Dempsey is the driving force behind the campaign and is challenging colleagues across the hospitality and tourism industry to pledge to employ more young people aged between 18-24 years old.

“The industry has very many job vacancies for youngsters and the unemployed, and has huge career opportunities at apprenticeship – and other levels – if only more young people realised this,” Dempsey said.

Red Carnation pledge

The 2013 Big Hospitality Conversation has already got off to a good start with Red Carnation Hotels’ making its own pledge to create 100 new jobs jobs for young people between now and 2015. These jobs will be based in London, Dorset and the Channel Isles.

Jonathan Raggett, Red Carnation Hotels’ general manager, said: “We wholeheartedly support this industry wide initiative to get more of our young people into work and encourage other hospitality companies to get involved.

“For young people, working in the hospitality industry is often overlooked, yet it offers a rewarding, challenging and serious career choice.”

The Big Hospitality Conversation is a joint initiative between the BHA, Business in the Community (BitC), and industry charity Springboard. An inaugural event last year​saw leading figures from hotels, restaurants and pubs across the country taking part in table discussions with young people.

Springboard Video: The Big Conversation 

At the Big Hospitality Conversation events this year, the BHA will ask other hospitality and tourism businesses to pledge to create new jobs with an overall ambition for the industry to create thousands of new jobs, apprenticeships and work placements for 18-24 year olds over the next three years.

The BHA’s chief executive Ufi Ibrahim said: “The Big Hospitality Conversation has struck a chord with our members and we are seeing unprecedented levels of support to achieve our target.

“Many businesses are growing and are able to offer new jobs. Those that aren’t able to offer new jobs at this stage, can provide work-placements and schools talks to help young people get a taste for our industry and make it their preferred career choice.

“Given the right framework, our research shows that hospitality could have the potential to generate over 200,000 jobs by 2015,​which is half the government’s Youth Contract target for the next three years.

“The UK tourism industry accounted for a third of all new employment in the UK in the two years up to the end of 2011, contributing 60,000 new jobs, according to the latest research from the Office for National Statistics.

“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.”

What the BHA hopes to achieve:

  • A Big Conversation event in every region of the UK
  • To share best practice and create a common approach to work placements and internships.
  • To understand the role of apprenticeships in our industry.
  • To ask every tourism and hospitality business in the UK to pledge to create new jobs for 18-24 year olds, helping to tackle youth unemployment.

If your business can find one or more work experience places, internships, apprenticeships or a new job for someone under the age of 25, join the Big Conversation and attend next week's event by emailing oun@oun.bet.hx​.

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