Tragus launches ‘Employment Academies’ to get job seekers into work

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Employment

People 1st will liaise directly with Tragus’ restaurant managers to train job seekers through ‘Employment Acadamies’
People 1st will liaise directly with Tragus’ restaurant managers to train job seekers through ‘Employment Acadamies’
Tragus Group, owner of the Café Rouge, Bella Italia, Strada and Belgo brands, has partnered with sector skills council People 1st for a new initiative which will provide job seekers with the skills they need to begin a career in the hospitality industry.

People 1st will work with local JobCentre Plus operations to identify unemployed people, and then liaise directly with Tragus’ restaurant managers to train them through ‘Employment Acadamies’.

With 299 UK sites within its portfolio, Tragus plans to use the Employment Academies as part of its future recruitment needs, with the company guaranteeing job interviews to people that complete their pre-employment training.

“The new partnership will provide fantastic opportunities both for Tragus and all programme participants,” said the group’s HR director Sara Edwards. “We know that people who are trained through the programme People 1st uses (Employment 1st) have the skills we want and need, so we will guarantee an interview to anyone who completes it.

“The employment academies are in the best interests of the company, but we’re also really happy that we’ll be giving something back to the industry and local communities. By supporting a programme that gives people the skills to work in hospitality, we’re helping make sure that the industry as a whole benefits from a better trained workforce.”

Staffing squeeze

Tragus' HR director Sara Edwards says the EMployment Academies are in the best interests of the company

People 1st’s head of pre-employment and apprenticeships Martine Pullen added: “Tragus has some fantastic brands and is a huge operation throughout the UK, so we’re absolutely thrilled to be working in partnership with them.

“The level of support throughout the organisation has been amazing – every level of the operation has really been able to see the benefits our work can bring.”

This new initiative comes at a time when recruiting the right staff and then retaining them is notoriously difficult in the hospitality industry.​The growth in the restaurant market is piling the pressure on restaurateurs to solve a staffing squeeze that runs from front-of-house waiters through to general managers. Seventeen per cent of all employers in hospitality have job vacancies and, of those, 64 per cent are at manager level.

Skills gap

So where do the problems lie? Last week, the co-owner of a restaurant and bar in Notting Hill​said he thought it was the recent flurry of single and dual-dish restaurants that is changing the skill set of up-and-coming chefs, making it harder for more varied and traditional concepts to attract new talent.

But only seven per cent of other restaurateurs agree. According to a BigHospitality survey, 43 per cent think the issue is down to the young people themselves, with the work ethic ‘not the same as it used to be’. Twenty-three per cent of respondents argued it is the education system; that the food curriculum needs to be re-energised.

What do you think? Cast your VOTE below.


Finding new staff: Where do the problems lie?

  • Single-dish and fast-casual restaurants: Fewer people are being trained on the job and skills are limited.

  • Education system: The food curriculum needs to be re-energised.

  • Government: More money should be provided to support hospitality training.

  • The media: TV chefs and cooking programs give young people the wrong impression.

  • Young people: The work ethic is not the same as it used to be.

  • Business owners: Should be more proactive in their efforts to attract new talent.


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