The Big Hospitality Conversation: Restaurants targeted in next wave of jobs push

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Big hospitality conversation, Tourism, Bha

The Big Conversation provides a much-needed dialogue between senior industry leaders and young people
The Big Conversation provides a much-needed dialogue between senior industry leaders and young people
Tackling youth unemployment and embracing a common approach to work placements, internships and apprenticeships in restaurants is the focal point of the latest Big Hospitality Conversation, being held on behalf of the British Hospitality Association (BHA) and the Restaurant Association in London today (9 October).

Restaurants from across the South East have been invited to BMA House in Tavistock Square; to make pledges to create new jobs for 16-24 year olds. Over 30,000 new job pledges have been made in the past year as a result of similar Big Conversation events.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has welcomed the BHA’s event, reaffirming that the hospitality industry ‘offers an eclectic range of career options for our young people’.

“London’s restaurant and hospitality scene is vibrant,” said Johnson. “The Big Hospitality Conversation is an excellent initiative which is set to support growth and job creation in this world-leading sector. This is in line with my ambitions to promote apprenticeships in the capital, with the aim to provide 250,000 places by 2016.”

Vital first steps

Led by the BHA in partnership with Springboard, the Business in the Community (BITC) and Barclays and hosted by BaxterStorey, the Big Hospitality Conversation initiative comes hot on the heels of the recently signed agreement between the BHA, the Minister of State for Employment and the Department of Work & Pensions to ‘better serve the needs of the hospitality sector while giving those people who wish to pursue a career in hospitality a recognised route into work’. 

It is envisaged that the agreement will be an important step in ensuring the hospitality and tourism industry receives the necessary government backing to realise its full job-creating potential in the UK.

The BHA’s chief executive Ufi Ibrahim: “Galvanised by the BHA's Big Hospitality Conversation, Britain's hospitality industry is leading the fight on youth unemployment. In just twelve months, our industry created 31,000 new career opportunities for 16 to 24 year olds, offering that vital first step onto a rewarding career ladder in hospitality.

“I have no doubt that many of those entering the industry through the Big Hospitality Conversation will make it to the very top, thereby joining the thousands of British chairpersons, managing directors, senior executives and entrepreneurs, who all started out at entry level in hospitality.  There are very few other industries that can boast such progression and advancement in career terms.”

Current BHA campaigns:

  • Inspiring the next generation - The potential of the industry to create 300,000 new jobs by 2020. Why hospitality jobs are quality jobs and the economic and social value of temporary and summer holiday work.
  • Facilitating access - Asking the government to improve the process, the cost and the perception of visa access to the UK
  • Driving competitiveness - To be more competitive with the lower tourism VAT regimes in Europe
  • Responsible hospitality - Helping the hospitality community to achieve new standards in waste reduction, healthy and trusted food and advising the government on how to reduce red tape which costs money and slows down businesses

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