Hospitality Apprentices Ask The Tough Questions To Minister As The Hospitality Apprenticeship Showcase Goes Online

Over 200 people tuned in to view Apprentices from across the hospitality sector get up close and personal with Gillian Keegan MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Apprenticeships and Skills as they posed a range of questions about the present and future of apprenticeships.

The event, which normally takes the form of an interactive event at the House of Commons saw Mike Wood MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group and sector specialist and MD of HIT Training, Jill Whittaker, welcome the attendees and manage the lively session.

The Hospitality Apprenticeship Showcase (HAS) unites the industry to showcase the diverse range of opportunities available to parents, education and people wanting to join the sector, as well as highlighting the dedication to the training and development of people across a diverse range of careers from front and back-of-house; brewing and engineer to all the professional disciplines required to run a company.

Representatives from Fuller, Smith and Turner PLC, Stonegate Group, Marston’s, Beds and Bars, Mitchells and Butlers, Compass at Tottenham Hotspur FC, JD Wetherspoon, McDonald’s, Lifetime Training, Diageo, AB InBev, Umbrella Training, The Arterial Group, St Austell Brewery, Fest and Revel, Ascot Racecourse, Sodexo, Springboard and Centre Parcs took turns to question the Minister.

The pandemic and the road out of lockdown was the main focus of the discussion. The Minister was brought to account on what her department was doing to safeguard the future of the industry. Minister Keegan explained, “There is no doubt the hospitality industry has been affected; none arguably have been harder hit. The key thing now is how we get it open; we need everyone to be confident to go out, that’s why we’re managing the health side and being cautious, we want this to be our final lockdown.”

Louis Clayton, apprentice from Marston’s PLC, followed this up highlighting how important the hospitality industry, and in particular the role of apprentices, will be in kickstarting the economy again and quizzed the Minister on the engagement with young people: “…what dialogue have you got with young people in hospitality to ensure their voices are heard in government?” he asked. The Minister replied, “It certainly hasn’t been an easy time and we have been learning as we go along. The dialogues are extremely important, and I have been meeting with a lot of apprentices, it is one of the favourite parts of the job.” Louis now looks like he has a seat at the table of future discussions!

A question from St Austell’s apprentice, Robert Alder, about the scope for higher levels of apprenticeships beyond Level 4 in brewing brought the session around to the importance of the industry evolving the training programmes on offer. Minister Keegan explained: “Anybody in the industry if they think there is a gap (in programmes offered), can approach the National Institute of Apprenticeships (with ideas for new courses). There are always opportunities for companies to bring forward new standards.”

After an hour of Q&A time with the Minister, Jill brought the session to a close, she remarked: “Our apprentices are our industry’s best cheerleaders and trailblazers in the future of learning and development programmes. Hospitality is no longer a place where you work temporarily to make some extra cash, you can build life-long rewarding careers. We will come out of this lockdown fighting and it is going to be an exciting time, full of opportunity, for our sector.”

The whole event can be re-watched here: https://we.tl/t-JTZSwptklO