Today the Perceptions Group, which aims to promote careers within the industry, has echoed calls from the British Hospitality Association (BHA) for the government and all relevant political parties to be made aware of ‘the economic importance of the hospitality industry’ in advance of this year's general election and help raise its profile to secure a future workforce.
With the hospitality and tourism sector set to grow 4 per cent over the next 10 years and record spend expected to come from inbound tourists in 2015, support is needed to help find the estimated 848,000 people to fill new jobs.
Perceptions Group vice-chairman Anthony Pender said Labour’s claim that long-term youth unemployment was costing taxpayers more than £180m a year should be an incentive for party support.
“Youth unemployment has always been a challenge for the government. However, there are thousands of jobs out there,” he said. “More support is needed to help educate and inform students, teachers and career advisors about the vast range of opportunities that exist within this vibrant sector.”
Economic and social importance
In a blog post on the BHA website, posted at the end of last year, chief executive Ufi Ibrahim said the BHA needed to ‘make sure that the economic and social importance of the hospitality and tourism sector is understood by all political parties; and that our issues are on their agenda for the future’ before outlining the organisation's plans for the forthcoming year.
She said there was a need for ‘enlightened’ employment legislation that would encourage jobs growth, price competitiveness with other countries and the development of ‘a robust skills agenda’ to help attract the right people.
Pender said one of the biggest obstacles to workforce growth was the misconception that working in a pub or bar was a ‘part-time, pocket money’ option.
“The truth is a young person can progress quickly, learning all the skills required to run a business and take responsibility for a premises that would typically turn over in excess of £1m That’s big business,” he said.
“A multitude of entry routes are open to those looking to get into work. From traineeships and apprenticeships to graduate programmes. We really are an industry that is part of the unemployment solution.”