The boss of Best Western GB has called on school leavers to consider a career in hospitality, in the same week that A level results were announced.
The appeal came amid continuing concerns that there is an acute shortage of skilled staff in the industry, particularly among chefs, but also within other occupations.
Recent research from People 1st has claimed that 42% of chef vacancies are considered hard to fill and has indicated that the industry will need an additional 11,000 chefs by 2022. Meanwhile, the 2010-2020 Working Futures report projects that accommodation and food services industries in the UK will require almost 524,000 more staff by the year 2020.
Best Western chief executive Rob Payne (pictured) said he was concerned that there was a perception problem with the industry, which meant that parents "will push for their children to consider careers elsewhere before they consider hospitality".
"We need to address this confidence issue with parents, pupils and between ourselves so school leavers know that hospitality can be a professional career, not just a summer job," he said.
"As an industry we offer an amazing career choice, with entry level positions providing a huge range of experiences for school leavers. For those that want to pursue a career in hospitality, management positions are achievable early on and the experience gained can lead to a career anywhere in the world."
"Best Western GB is committed to helping change perceptions. Many of our members are career hoteliers and family businesses who understand what hospitality is like both from a parents' perspective and a professional one.
"I see a huge opportunity for young people entering the work force and am keen for us to encourage more to consider it."
Payne, who runs the largest collection of independently owned and family run hotels in Britain, with 275+ hotels across the UK, is young for a chief executive himself, at the age of 37.
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