Nationwide Campaign Comes To Leeds To Inspire The Next Generation Into Hospitality And Tourism

BHA-Logo-full-colourThe Leeds Hotels and Venues Association has announced that The Big Hospitality Conversation will be coming to Leeds on 26th September at the Queens Hotel, Leeds. This will be the first time that the event has come to the city as part of a nationwide campaign by the British Hospitality Association, which looks to create up to 60,000 hospitality jobs for young people by the end of 2016.

The Big Hospitality Conversation would like to encourage those who may be interested in a potential career in hospitality to attend this event – this could be young people who haven’t decided what qualifications they want to do yet, students already at university or college who are looking at career and employment options or those currently unemployed.

Sponsored by LeedsBID (Leeds Business Improvement District), the 41st Big Hospitality Conversation event will see over 100 hospitality business leaders, restauranteurs, hoteliers and caterers from across the region will come together for the one-day event to pledge jobs, apprenticeships and work placements for young Britons.

Over 4.49m people are employed in hospitality and tourism, over 14% of the UK workforce, and as the UK’s fourth largest industry, the hospitality sector accounts for 17% of total UK jobs growth. One-third of staff employed in hospitality are under 25, and most of those who end up in a management role do so before they are 30. The hospitality sector has a skills shortage, particularly for managers and chefs and needs to recruit an additional 100,000 skilled workers by 2020 in order to keep up with predicted growth.

Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association said: “In the past three years we have galvanised the entire industry. Over 3,500 industry leaders pledged their support to The Big Hospitality Conversation showcasing government the power of the hospitality and tourism industry in generating high quality apprenticeships and meaningful careers for our young people.

“The 41st event to date will allow Leeds youth to take the chance to meet great employers in the region and leave with a job offer! We are proud that our campaign continues to demonstrate the importance of action when it comes inspiring the next generation.”

Gordon Jackson, Chair of Leeds Hotels and Venues Association said:

“We are so thrilled to be hosting this event in Leeds. Hospitality is a great option for a career, but I wonder how many people are aware of how wide the opportunities are within the hospitality sector. Yes, we employ chefs, waiting and bar staff and receptionists, but the industry offers so many opportunities for people. We have openings for those interested in financial management, IT, HR, Sales and Marketing and Maintenance. We are currently experiencing a real shortage in skilled staff coming through education and yet we can guarantee real jobs at the end of the education process. I’m not sure other careers can guarantee jobs with such confidence.”

Andrew Cooper, Chief Executive of the Leeds BID comments:

“This is a really important event for Leeds and we are delighted that we have been able to financially support it. One of our main business objectives is to focus on creating employment opportunities, particularly youth unemployment which in Leeds is just short of 19% of all 16-24 year olds. Hospitality can offer people a varied, exciting career path but I don’t think as a city we shout about the opportunities within this sector. If you look at the hospitality landscape within the city, there are so many hotels and restaurants opening their doors which are desperate for good people with a passion for service. The Big Hospitality Conversation will outline these options and put people in front of those businesses that have real openings for employment.”

The Big Hospitality Conversation is a nationwide campaign led by the British Hospitality Association in partnership with Springboard, National Apprenticeship Service and the Department for Work and Pensions. It offers a commitment to creating job opportunities for 16-24 year olds. Over 57,000 job opportunities have so far been created at events like the one in Leeds and the aim is for the hospitality industry to create up to 60,000 jobs for young people by 2016.

The event on Monday 26th September is from 11am – 12pm for young people aged 14-16, and from 1pm-4pm for everybody. More information and to register contact or e-mail

Hospitality Businesses, with placement and employment opportunities wishing to attend the event are invited to register at