West Midlands is hit by catering skills shortage

The West Midlands is suffering from a serious shortage of skilled catering
workers, according to a major review led by celebrity chef Brian Turner.

The West Midlands Regional Review of Hospitality and Catering, published by
the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), found that training provision had failed
to keep up with the growth of the industry.

David Cragg, LSC regional director for the West Midlands, said: "The
single most important issue is the mismatch between the requirement for trained
staff and the numbers being trained, with key shortages in skilled occupations,
such as chefs.

"The opportunities for training providers are obvious, with
employer-based assessment and work-based learning being clear areas for a rapid
growth in provision," he added.

The review found that while there are 133,000 people employed in the West
Midlands hospitality and catering sector – with nearly a third of those in
restaurants – nearly 60 per cent of organisations had experienced difficulties
in recruiting skilled employees.

One of the main problems for companies recruiting staff in the area is the
tendency for well-qualified employees to migrate to London and the South East
after a period in the West Midlands.

To combat these shortages, a minority of employers are looking abroad to
find staff for higher-skilled positions.

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