The group will meet quarterly to discuss ways in which they can tackle the perception of careers within the hospitality industry to ultimately increase the number of apprenticeship applications and help reduce the skills shortage.
The introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy last year, which requires all UK employers in the private and public sector with a pay bill of over £3 million to contribute to the apprenticeship levy (0.5% of their annual pay bill), has also highlighted the need for employers to work together to maximise the return on this investment.
Graham Briggs, Apprenticeship Manager at Greene King, said: “As employers, we know the perceptions and barriers for apprenticeships in hospitality, which is why we recognise the importance of employers working together to promote the fantastic opportunities available. We are very grateful for Lifetime Training which is helping to facilitate the steering group.
“We know we have a job to do in educating people about the benefits of working in hospitality and taking an apprenticeship and we hope to do this through activities such as school engagement and career shows.”
Amy-Lou, Recruitment Manager at GBK, said: “There is so much flexibility and opportunities for progression in hospitality. With most other professions, once you train in that field, it doesn’t give the flexibility to move elsewhere, while working within hospitality gives you a variety of skills that are transferrable and enable you to move between organisations and potentially sectors.
“Hospitality is the sector of infinite choice and one where you develop an extremely diverse skillset. It’s one of the only industries where you can start off as something like a kitchen team member or bartender and accelerate through the ranks and become a general manager, an area manager or support role – the opportunities are vast.”
Alex Khan, Chief Executive Officer at Lifetime Training, said: “With the UK Government committing to creating three million apprenticeships by 2020 and the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, now is the time for employers to follow suit and stand together so that we can increase the number of apprentices and address the industry’s productivity challenges.
“It was extremely encouraging to have several of the top hospitality employers all come together and recognise the need to educate people about the opportunities and support available from a career in hospitality. By working collaboratively, we’re sure we will be able to start breaking down these barriers and start seeing the change that we all want to see.”
Paul Capper, Vocational Learning Manager at M&B, added: “Working together will hopefully help us shine a light on the hospitality industry for young people. Showcasing the breadth of opportunities and careers is the best way for us to build a successful and talent-rich pipeline.”