The Act NOW! campaign is based around ‘five simple steps’ that employers should be taking and is designed to meet the needs of hospitality businesses of all sizes. The Hospitality Guild’s executive director Suzy Jackson believes a united effort will help tackle the issue of youth unemployment.
“With more than 2.5m people unemployed throughout the UK, the hospitality industry is in a fantastic position to be able to help move people into work, especially through apprenticeships,” said Jackson.
“We want everyone to be able to take part, from small businesses that have never employed an apprentice before, through to large companies that are already employing hundreds of apprentices each year.
“We’ve developed a series of five simple steps that an employer can take, regardless of how big or small they are or whether they’ve employed an apprentice before.
“We wanted to create a campaign so that people knew exactly what they were being asked to do when we say Act NOW!”
The five steps of the Act NOW! campaign:
- Using pre-employment training designed specifically for the hospitality industry – or hiring someone who has completed the programme
- Hiring an apprentice by working with an apprenticeship training association, which acts in a similar way to a recruitment agency for apprentices
- Using innovative tools to deliver apprenticeships
- Becoming a registered Good Employer on the industry’s careers guidance website, UKSP
- Providing career progression by employing someone on a higher apprenticeship in hospitality management or progressing existing staff into new roles.
Jackson revealed that a number of employers are already working with the Hospitality Guild and its partners to meet the target of 20,000 job opportunities.
“We’ve been doing a lot of work to promote pre-employment training and apprenticeships to a wide range of employers, especially through the Pub Perceptions Group.
“Organisations like Bartlett Mitchell are committed to interviewing people who have been through the pre-employment training programme, Employment 1st.
“The Institute of Hospitality has also played a major role in helping to promote the new Higher Apprenticeship in Hospitality Management, while the BII has specific apprenticeship programmes to attract new people into the pub industry.
The Academy of Culinary Arts also offers a highly specialised chef programme, which illustrates that there are clear and exciting career development opportunities available in our industry.
“We want to see more businesses and industry organisations Act NOW! on apprenticeships and pre-employment training, as there are a huge number of benefits – both for the business and for the learner.”
The Hospitality Guild, which launched at the beginning of last year, argues that apprenticeships give learners the chance to earn an income while they are learning and gain a nationally recognised qualification, which in turn helps to promote loyalty and increase staff retention.
Businesses are also proven to benefit from employing an apprentice, especially in areas such as productivity and gaining staff members that are trained to their standards.
“With apprenticeships offering these kinds of benefits and government funding available for a lot of businesses to cover training costs, apprenticeships are a great way to go,” added Jackson.
For more information about the Act NOW! campaign and the steps that you can take as an employer, visit the Hospitality Guild website at www.hospitalityguild.co.uk/actnow
Meanwhile, Charnwood Training Group chef apprentice Conan Brooks, 16, recently landed a week-long work experience at Raymond Blanc’s two Michelin star Restaurant and Hotel, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire.
Conan has been studying on-the-job for his Level 2 Award in Professional Cookery while working at the Charnwood Academy in Kirkby in Ashfield since September 2012. The work experience opportunity came about when Conan responded to a tweet from Le Manoir offering placements.
His mentor for the week was Rhodri Williams, sous chef tournant at Le Manoir, where he’s been working for nine years. On Conan’s first day, he was impressed with the slick way the kitchen operates, admitting he found the range of equipment a little overwhelming. “I’ve never even seen most of the equipment Rhodri has shown me, let alone used it," he said. "I didn’t realise kitchen equipment varied so much and I could’t wait to get stuck in.”