Training provider HIT Training has called on hospitality employers to trial a new kind of apprenticeship scheme specifically for seasonal workers.
HIT is one of the first training providers to pilot the new apprenticeship model. The scheme will enable employees in seasonal roles to undertake an apprenticeship despite taking a break between contracts. This is different from the typical requirement that apprenticeships need to be completed within a period of continuous employment.
The programme is being run as a pilot basis by the Skills Funding Agency and is available until July 2018. It is designed not only to allow employees to gain formal training and qualifications, while maintaining what is a lifestyle choice for many, but also enables employers to up-skill their workforce and ensure the right expertise is available for staff completing multiple seasonal contracts.
"Introducing this type of flexibility into apprenticeships in the hospitality sector will go a long way towards helping employers plug the skills gap that exists in the industry," said Jill Whittaker, managing director at HIT Training. "Seasonal workers are an essential and valued element of the workforce. Investment in training demonstrates this and will encourage good employees to return season after season, perhaps leading to a long-term career in hospitality. The scheme marks a significant step change for the sector and we're looking for businesses to work with to trial this apprenticeship model, and be among the first to offer this scheme to their seasonal staff."
To participate in the pilot, which is part of the government's Tourism Action Plan, employers must work with a training provider that has direct funding from the Skills Funding Agency, or be in receipt of this funding themselves. There is no restriction to the size of businesses that can take part or a minimum number of seasonal employees. From April 2017, employers that pay the Apprenticeship Levy will be able to use their Levy funds for this pilot. Employees must have written commitment by the business that they will be re-employed the following season to complete their training; they must also be aged 19 or over on the first day of the apprenticeship, and eligible according to the funding rules.