British hospitality industry aims to reduce youth unemployment

UK: British Hospitality Association launches 2013 Big Conversation for Hospitality

The British Hospitality Association’s (BHA) Big Conversation for Hospitality is described as the industry’s biggest job creation drive ever.

Under the initiative, the hospitality and tourism sectors are pledging to “reduce youth unemployment by encouraging work placements, apprenticeships and job opportunities across the industry during the next three years”. 

The Big Conversation for Hospitality kicks off tomorrow at Grosvenor House, London. The London event will be the first in a series of regional events giving opportunities for young unemployed people to come and talk to seasoned industry insiders about a career in Hospitality.

The BHA will ask hospitality and tourism companies to get involved in the Big Conversation and pledge new jobs. The ambition is for the industry to pledge thousands of new jobs, apprenticeships and work placements for 18-24 year olds over the next three years.

Patrick Dempsey, managing director of Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants, a driving force behind the campaign, said: “The industry has very many job vacancies for youngsters and the unemployed, and has huge career opportunities at apprenticeship – and other levels – if only more young people realised this.”

Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the BHA, said: “The Big Conversation for hospitality has struck a chord with our members and we are seeing unprecedented levels of support to achieve our target. Many businesses are growing and are able to offer new jobs. Those that aren’t able to offer new jobs at this stage, can provide work-placements and schools talks to help young people get a taste for our industry and make it their preferred career choice.

“Given the right framework, our research shows that hospitality could have the potential to generate over 200,000 jobs by 2015, which is half the government’s Youth Contract target for the next three years. The UK tourism industry accounted for a third of all new employment in the UK in the two years up to the end of 2011, contributing 60,000 new jobs, according to the latest research from the Office for National Statistics. Hospitality is one of the very few industries in the UK creating jobs, apprenticeships, work placements and career opportunities.  It is one of the very few industries where you can start at the bottom and excel right up to the very top,” she added.

The British Hospitality Association is a supporting partner for the 2013 Boutique Hotel Summit in May, and Boutique Hotel News is a media partner for the BHA’s British Hospitality & Tourism Summit 2013 in June.

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