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Innovative Hospitality Recruitment Scheme Helps Westminster Businesses Attract New Talent As Staffing Crisis Continues

A year on from the launch of an innovative scheme designed to tackle the hospitality and leisure industry’s staffing crisis in the wake of Covid-19, ‘Westminster Works’ has revealed that over 220 businesses across the borough of Westminster have been supported with recruitment and retention of new talent.

The first of its kind in the UK, the initiative created in partnership by Step Ahead, New West End Company,Knightsbridge Partnership and AttisTowns and funded by Westminster City Council attracted interest from over 7,000 potential employees in the first six weeks.To date over 150 people have been placed in new roles, from barista to bartender, reception manager to chef de partie all at London Living Wage rates or above*. This was a key component of the Westminster Works Good Employer Pledge which has helped to secure better job conditions andprospects for traditionally low paid workers in the industry.

Recognised as having a world-class hospitality and leisure offering, Westminster is home to over 3,700restaurants, bars and cafes and a further 4,000 leisure businesses supporting around 120,000 jobs in the city. Some of the most iconic destinations in the borough have signed up to the scheme including luxury hotel, Raffles, restaurant group Caprice Holdings which encompasses some of London’s best restaurants such as Balthazar and Scott’s Mayfair, and the popular Arcade Foodhall dining experience.

The year milestone for the initiative comes as the latest ONS figures reveal that there are over 121,000unfilled job vacancies in the accommodation and food services industry across the UK, one of the highest rates of any sector and still significantly higher than before the Covid-19 pandemic. According to industry advocacy organisation UK Hospitality, staff shortages cost UK businesses £21bn in lost revenue in 2022 and led to 45% of operators reducing opening hours or closing at least one day a week.

One of the ways Westminster Works is addressing this problem and adapting to the needs of businesses in a changing labour market is by attracting a new, diverse range of high calibre applicants to the roles via a bespoke training service run by Step Ahead. Candidates are first enrolled in a Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Excellence in Customer Service for Hospitality, upon completion of which they are offered guaranteed interviews with selected employers in the Westminster Works scheme.

Candidates can then go on to take either a Level 1 course in employability skills or a Level 1 in personal and social development, with each course lasting just seven days and being completed fully remotely. This approach means that in two and half weeks, job seekers can achieve two new qualifications and secure a guaranteed interview with a London Living Wage employer in Westminster, helping to fast track the employment process whilst providing motivated, trained talent

There are currently over 120 live vacancies as part of the Westminster Works programme for a diverse range of hospitality roles in some of London’s most prestigious hotels, bars and restaurants.

Paul Barnes, Programme Director for AttisTowns: commented:

“Despite an uncertain economic landscape, this programme has shown that collaboration is key to tackling the recruitment crisis in the hospitality and leisure sectors and I look forward to seeing what more we can achieve together over the coming months, particularly as we head into a critical trading period for hospitality businesses.”

Businesses looking to fill roles with high quality candidates can register interest in joining the scheme at

Under Secretary of State for Business and Trade, Kevin Hollinrake MP, Confirmed as Speaker at NTIA Night Time Economy Summit 2024

The Night Time Industries Association is delighted to announce that the Under Secretary of State for Business and Trade, Kevin Hollinrake MP, who serves as the Minister for Enterprise, Markets, and Small Businesses within the Government, has confirmed his attendance at the upcoming NTIA (Night Time Industries Association) Night Time Economy Summit.

The Summit, set to take place at Freight Island in Manchester, is a significant event that brings together key stakeholders, industry leaders, and policymakers to discuss and address the challenges and opportunities within the night-time economy. It serves as a platform for fostering collaboration and driving innovation in this vital sector.

“We are extremely pleased to have Under Secretary Kevin Hollinrake MP join us at the NTIA Night Time Economy Summit.

His presence underscores the importance of the summit and the communities it represents, but also allows us to hear the government’s position, specifically its commitment to supporting and promoting enterprise, markets, and small businesses within the night-time economy,” said Michael Kill CEO NTIA.

As the Minister for Enterprise, Markets, and Small Businesses, Mr. Hollinrake’s insights and perspectives will contribute significantly to the discussions on strategies for fostering growth, ensuring regulatory support, and addressing the unique needs of businesses operating in the night-time sector.

Minister Hollinrake, will deliver a compelling address on the current landscape and the commitment to the future of the industry. This is just the beginning, as we release more high-profile speakers and engaging sessions to be revealed in the coming weeks.

The NTIA Night Time Economy Summit promises to be a pivotal event, bringing together thought leaders and decision-makers to shape the future of the night-time economy. Join businesses, stakeholders, and members of the media on Thursday 8th & Friday 9th February at Freight Island in Manchester.