Hospitality sector opens its doors to skills venture

The hotel and catering sector is to embark on a major joint initiative with
government to provide industry-ready New Deal recruits to tackle the huge
skills shortages in the industry.

It is estimated there are hundreds of thousands of vacancies in the sector.
A report by the Hospitality Training Foundation shows that almost half the
100,000 jobs advertised over a three-month period up to last July went
unfilled.

In response a scheme to ease the crisis is being developed by the Employment
Service and the British Hospitality Association. It will involve customising
the New Deal to meet the needs of the hotel and catering sector and is an
admission by both industry and government that there is a chronic lack of
skilled staff.

Miles Quest, of the British Hospitality Association, said action is urgently
needed: "There are several hundred thousand staff needed in the hotel and
catering industry. The Employment Service does keep figures of vacancies but
those are just the tip of the iceberg. Not all employers go through the
employment service; many use agencies so the service is not aware of all
vacancies."

Savoy Group HR director Tim Gates said, "One criticism of the New Deal
was the gateway period trainees went through. Anything that reduces that
induction period for employers must be a welcome development."

Employment minister Tessa Jowell said, "Recognising the skills shortage
in the industry, the Employment Service and the British hospitality industry
are working together to customise New Deal provision to match the needs of the
sector. New Deal will not only match workers with jobs and jobs with workers,
it will provide employers with industry-ready job-seekers."

By Helen Rowe

www.bha-online.org.uk

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