The London Development Agency (LDA) is to inject £3.5m into the hospitality industry in a bid to help create top-class chefs, hotel managers and other staff in the capital.
The agency says the sector accounts for 430,000 jobs in London across 47,000 businesses and estimates that 30-40% of these have difficulty recruiting.
The LDA's overall aim is to attract more high-spending visitors to the capital, especially business tourists, and it believes quality of service is crucial to this.
To this end it is injecting the money into practical courses for front-line staff.
It has already run pilot projects with organisations including Conran restaurants and the Churchill hotel.
The courses included Champagne-pouring, cocktail making and meat carving as well as English language skills.
The training will begin in Janaury 2005 and the schemes are planned to give jobs to 950 unemployed people, help 250 businesses and enable 1,500 staff already working in the industry to get extra training.
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