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After a challenging few years, recovery is the aim for everyone involved in the hospitality industry…

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After a challenging few years, recovery is the aim for everyone involved in the hospitality industry.

With the country reopening for business following the Covid-19 pandemic, employers are looking to grow – and that means recruitment.

But with vacancies in the sector soaring, how do business owners attract the talent they need to succeed?

Apprenticeships can be the solution, offering an accessible pathway to a huge variety of flexible and rewarding hospitality careers.

BIIAB, an awarding organisation that is part of the Skills and Education Group, offers end-point assessments for a range of apprenticeship standards. Our assessments ensure that apprentices are confident and capable, providing businesses with the skilled employees they need.

If you’re a college, training provider or employer, you can work with us to deliver hospitality apprenticeships and take advantage of the huge demand for staff in this essential industry.

Read on to find out more about why there has never been a better time to support hospitality apprenticeships.

A national priority

Strengthening the hospitality and tourism sector has been a government priority since the publication of the Tourism Sector Deal in 2019, which set the ambitious aim of delivering 30,000 hospitality and tourism apprenticeships by 2025.

Now, as the hospitality sector recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic, there is huge demand for new staff. Labour market statistics published in February 2022 showed that there were more than double the number of hospitality vacancies than in the corresponding pre-pandemic period. Furthermore, data from September this year showed that nearly 40% of hospitality businesses in the accommodation and food industries were experiencing skilled labour shortages.

Therefore, new hospitality staff are in demand, and there is a wealth of opportunities for individuals to start a successful career in this industry.

Changing perceptions

However, many people do not even consider a career in hospitality due to the negative perceptions about this industry that continue to persist. According to UK Hospitality, only 1 in 5 UK adults of working age consider hospitality to be an appealing industry to work in. Furthermore, Umbrella Training’s White Paper Report 2022 surveyed more than 2,000 young people between the ages of 14-21 and found that only 1 in 10 of these young people would choose a career in hospitality. The top reasons for not being interested in a hospitality career included “The pay is not very high”, “I don’t know much about jobs in hospitality”, and “I don’t think I have the right skills”.

However, the industry is making a concerted effort to increase the appeal of hospitality jobs. The Hospitality Rising campaign is the official industry response to the current recruitment crisis and is backed by the Hospitality and Tourism Skills Board. It aims to raise £5 million for an advertising recruitment campaign to change perceptions of working in hospitality. This campaign has gathered support from high-profile organisations, including Pret a Manger, Hilton, Welcome Break and the BII. UK Hospitality has also launched a workforce strategy for solving hospitality’s staffing shortage, identifying recruitment, skills and training, and the image of the sector as key aspects of this strategy.

Ideal for young people

Though these negative perceptions exist, Hospitality Rising and other campaigns such as Hospitality Apprenticeships Week have plenty to work with when selling the benefits of hospitality careers. Umbrella Training’s survey also asked young people why hospitality was an attractive career for them. The top reasons given included “I like to make people happy”, “It is a fast-paced and fun working environment”, “I want to work flexible hours”, and “There are opportunities to learn progress and earn more quickly”. These are all great reasons why working in hospitality is exciting and offers young people long-term prospects.

For young people who want to make a positive impact on others, hospitality is the perfect environment. The Hospitality and Tourism Workforce Landscape, a research report conducted by Economic Insight for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in 2019, noted that 45% of the hospitality and tourism workforce is employed in roles where staff behaviours make the crucial difference to a great customer experience, higher than most other UK industries.

Furthermore, there are excellent progression opportunities available in hospitality. It’s a sector in which people can learn on the job and continuously develop their skills, meaning apprentices can quickly move up the ranks into well-paid senior positions.

Inn Cornwall has been using apprenticeships for over 10 years, with their apprentices taking BIIAB end-point assessments before becoming full-time members of the team. Some of their staff have developed into managers after starting out as apprentices:

“Now that I have finished my apprenticeship, I have taken the role of sous chef in the kitchen where my journey began, doing work experience while at school. I now manage a team of chefs, which includes two Level 2 apprentice chefs that I train and help guide through their apprenticeships.” 

– Darren Dunstan, former Level 3 Chef de Partie Apprentice

Here’s what Mark Holden, Director of Inn Cornwall and BIIAB Trustee, thinks about apprenticeships:

“People don’t necessarily associate pubs with having career path options, but the skill set behind the schemes is so diverse. Apprenticeship schemes can assist in many different areas of business such as accounting, marketing, HR and general maintenance etc.

“We found apprenticeships help with retention across our company. It also provides us with a great long-term progression plan, which is appealing for when we are recruiting.

“I love seeing our apprentices’ confidence levels grow from day to day and hearing what they’ve been learning about after each day at college.”

For all ages and stages

Hospitality apprenticeships are not just for young people though. They are also great options for those looking to change career, or individuals already working in hospitality who want to take the next step.

Even if someone does not have prior experience in hospitality, they can still succeed in this industry. As stated by Daniel Ciapponi, Senior Lecturer at EHL Insights, soft skills such as communication and customer service can take you a long way in hospitality:

“As employers are focusing on soft skills over hard skills, which can be taught on the job, those candidates who will rise to the top of the pile are those who have demonstrated experience in soft skills.”

– Daniel Ciapponi, Senior Lecturer at EHL Insights.

Hospitality is therefore an accessible industry in which people can use existing skills developed elsewhere.

Furthermore, at a time when more and more people want flexibility in their jobs, hospitality is ideally placed to provide this. Economic Insight asked a sample of hospitality and tourism workers what motivated them to pursue a job in this industry, and the main reason given was “It fits my lifestyle”. The hospitality industry is ideally suited to provide a flexible alternative to the 9-5.

Given the huge range of vocational hospitality qualifications available, there is always the capacity for hospitality employees to continue developing their skills on the job.

And even if individuals do not intend to stay in hospitality forever, they are developing cross-sector skills. Working in a hospitality business provides an opportunity to gain experience in a wide variety of fields, from customer service and health and safety to business administration and leadership. So, even if an employee chooses to leave the sector, they will have the transferable skills to thrive elsewhere.

Funding is available

Remember that apprenticeships are also an attractive option for employers because of the government funding available. The amount an employer can receive depends on their pay bill and number of employees, but many companies can have 90-100% of their apprenticeship training costs funded by the government. Apprenticeships can therefore be a cost-effective recruitment tool at a time when many businesses’ budgets are tight.

We enable hospitality apprentices to succeed

As an awarding organisation that specialises in hospitality, BIIAB should be your first port of call when looking for an End-Point Assessment Organisation. Our experience with the apprenticeship standards in the industry means we know exactly what employers and apprentices need.

We offer end-point assessments at different levels, so you can support learners at different stages. 

To find out more about the end point assessments available and to read the article in full please click HERE

Originally published on 9 December 2022 by FE Week: