According to research by industry development charity Springboard, 53 per cent of the 1,600 school leavers it has questioned over the last year would consider a career in the industry, double the number of those questioned back in 2005.
Pizza Hut Restaurants HR director Kathryn Austin, welcomed the news and said hospitality was 'a great industry to consider for people of all academic backgrounds'.
She said: "Whether you want to start at 16 after finishing your GCSEs or join the sector after pursuing higher education, hospitality offers choice, breadth and opportunity, which is ideal for young people who aren’t totally sure where they want their career to go.
"A career in hospitality is absolutely worth considering as it offers young people far more than just a salary. It also enables people to build a host of important work and life skills, such as customer service, communication, the ability to multi-task and gain an insight into how a business operates."
However, the industry still struggles to recruit staff with the right skills and there are calls on the education system to better prepare those looking to leave education for the world of work.
"The situation remains that many young people entering the job market lack the basic skills employers are looking for and hold unrealistic views of the workplace," said Phil Orford, chief executive of the Forum of Private Business.
“Basic literacy, numeracy and IT skills are essential to every job and employers are reluctant to hire if they have to plug the gap where compulsory education has failed. This continues to be a concern for our members, who tell us that they have difficulty in finding the school leavers with the right skills, experience and work ethic."
Work experience and attitude
Springboard chief executive Anne Pierce said offering work experience to young people was a way to both influence career choice and help ready people for work.
She said: ”On-going Springboard research into the influences around career choice shows that there are many factors that contribute to the career decision process – and we’re here to help ensure that the hospitality, tourism and leisure industry is well portrayed in all of them – on-line; social media; careers magazines; consumer press; speakers in schools and TV and radio, but work experience remains the biggest influence on career decisions – it is the deal breaker.
"Work experience helps with the exploration of career opportunities and it is an important tool in helping change stereotypes of working within hospitality by showcasing the opportunities and progression that are available within the sector.”
However, Austin said enthusiasm and commitment was sometimes all that was needed if a company had systems in place to equip staff with the right skills. The 330-strong restaurant group offers a range of training schemes for all levels, from apprenticeships in service to management training to HeartStyles, a training programmed designed to help young people develop behavioural and emotional skills.
"We ask that our employees make our food and service their top priority and in return, we help them enjoy a career with us with rewards for a job well done," she said.
"Our tips for pursuing a career in hospitality would be to research the on-the-job training opportunities in your local area and think about examples in your life where you’ve demonstrated key skills such as teamwork and flexibility. But, most importantly, you need to be passionate, enthusiastic and committed - don't forget there is nothing stopping you climb the ladder if you are ambitious and hardworking enough."