Apprenticeships could alleviate hospitality skills shortage

Hospitality bosses should make better use of apprenticeships to tackle the ever-widening skills gap in the industry, according to the Learning and Skills Council (LSC).

JobCentre figures show there were 43,998 hospitality vacancies in October in the lead-up to one of the sector’s busiest seasons. This figure is higher than in any other month of the year, and is 16 per cent ahead of the unfilled jobs reported for October 2003.

According to the LSC, only 6 per cent of employers that respond to its apprenticeship marketing campaigns are from the hospitality sector.

“Hospitality is a popular career choice for young people, and we encourage employers to look beyond offering short-term jobs and use apprenticeships to deliver careers and long-term bottom-line business results,” said Stephen Gardner, director of work-based learning at the LSC.

One supporter of the apprenticeship approach is Compass chairman Francis Mackay, who wants to boost the number of Compass apprentices from 800 to 2,000 by 2008.

“Apprenticeships are vital to addressing the skills shortage that all industries are facing, and can make a real difference to a company’s bottom-line results through increased staff retention, job competence and morale,” he said.

“This is particularly important in peak business periods when having well-trained, confident staff who can perform under pressure is critical.”

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