The apprentice: you're hired
Convincing young homegrown talent to consider a career in the foodservice or hospitality sector has traditionally been an uphill struggle. The long, unsociable hours. The poor pay. The temptation to hire international staff. But, as we reach this year’s National Apprenticeship Week, is the wind changing? Have the likes of Hugh, Jamie and Nigella sprinkled a little stardust on the table?
In August 2010, three months after the formation of the coalition government, the prime minister, David Cameron, set out his vision for tourism. He wanted to see Britain in the top five destinations in the world for inbound tourism revenues and to increase the proportion of “home stays” from 36%
to 50%. The British Hospitality Association (BHA) was “enormously encouraged” by the comments.
153,000 new jobs
Between the year of Cameron’s speech and 2012, the hospitality sector generated 153,000 new jobs – 27.7% of all new jobs created in the UK at the time. London’s Olympic and Paralympic Games helped, as did the Diamond Jubilee. How many of them went to young people is not known, but employing young people is becoming a priority for many of the sector’s top businesses.
Youth unemployment in Britain is now higher than in any other OECD country apart from Greece and Spain. According to a report by the Work Foundation published in January 2013, the UK has also experienced the fastest rise in youth unemployment of any G8 country since the recession. The report’s author advised the UK to cherry-pick the best policies from other countries; Germany, for instance, has enabled far greater employer engagement in the issues, with youth unemployment actually falling since 2008. There should also be more opportunities for private sector on-the-job training, rather than unpaid work experience.
In 2012, the British hospitality industry launched the Big Hospitality Conversation – a joint campaign with the charity Springboard and Business in the Community – aimed at creating jobs, work placements and apprenticeships for 18 to 24-year-olds. According to a report published by the BHA this month, 300,000 new jobs in hospitality can be created by 2020, with the sector “uniquely placed” to generate opportunities for the 18 to 24 age group.
50% say maybe
According to research by Springboard, more than half of school leavers would seriously consider a career in the industry. Combine that with the new BHA statistics and it could be the perfect recipe for change. Some of London’s top hotels have already pledged to offer 1,000 work experience placements, apprenticeships and jobs to 16 to 24-year-olds.
The benefits of employing young people go beyond mere social sustainability. Consider that shoppers aged under 35 are twice as likely to want organic food as those over
35. They are also more likely to cook from scratch, aspire to shop ethically and waste less food. Young people are buying into food and sustainability, because they have grown up watching celebrity chefs such as Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson. With 300,000 new entrants, there might be a celebrity chef or two of the future in there.
2.68m jobs in hospitality
153,000 new jobs created from 2010-2012
300,000 new jobs possible by 2020
50% of school leavers would consider hospitality as a career