Chef shortage fears amid sharp decline in chef training
The shortage of chefs in the hospitality industry is being exacerbated by a sharp decline in the number of students opting for full-time chef programmes.
That's the warning from People 1st, which has reported a 51% fall in interest in such courses at colleges.
People 1st linked the dropping popularity of the courses to the fact that 26% of businesses with chef vacancies believe them to be hard to fill.
Talking about the research, People 1st's managing director Simon Tarr said: "Recent government changes to the curriculum have had a devastating effect on colleges offering the City & Guilds Diploma in Professional Cookery.
"The diploma was intended to ensure consistency in chef training and to provide students with the range of skills and knowledge they need to enter the industry and perform at the level employers require.
"However, colleges must now deliver English and Maths GCSEs within the same number of hours and this is simply not sustainable. Already we will have seen a quarter of colleges decide to stop offering this course over a three year period, meaning that the industry is facing a huge problem in finding skilled chefs in the years to come."
To address what it sees as a looming skills shortage, People 1st is working with the Tourism Council to make the case to the Government to increase the hours in which colleges can deliver the diploma and prevent this highly valuable course form being discontinued.
Tarr added: "Our research shows that, by 2022, the hospitality industry needs to recruit 11,000 chefs. People 1st see addressing this future shortage of skilled chefs as a priority and as such we are working in partnership with employers on a number of solutions. In the short-term, we are linking businesses with chef vacancies to students graduating from our network of accredited colleges.
"We feel that it is vital to halt the decline in the number of skilled chefs. We know that the Professional Cookery Diploma and the new Professional Chef and Production Chef apprenticeships, delivered by accredited colleges and providers genuinely meet the needs of employers and, as such, can provide individuals with guaranteed employment and recruiters with staff who are ready to hit the ground running and help their businesses to succeed."
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