Hospitality firms give skills pledge a cautious welcome
Major operators have cautiously backed the Government's new skills pledge which calls on organisations to offer all staff Level 2 training by 2010.
Last week, Caterer reported that just five hospitality employers had signed up to the pledge, a major recommendation of the Leitch Review into skills last December.
But hospitality Sector Skills Council People 1st insisted that the initial group of signatories was supposed to be a representative sample from across industry.
Chief operating officer David McHattie said: "This is a voluntary commitment and each company will need to decide to get involved within appropriate timeframes. However, it's clear that committing to raising the level of skills is important for everyone in the sector and the UK as a whole."
Compass Group, the industry's largest employer with more than 100,000 staff, has yet to sign the pledge but said it was "extremely supportive of any activity that will see people gaining greater levels of skills in the workplace".
A spokeswoman said: "We have been in discussions with the Government about the pledge and were pleased to see the recent amendments to the wording relating to employers' responsibilities. Before signing up we're keen to fully understand how this will fit with our internal learning and development agenda."
Travelodge, which has 5,500 UK employees, said it had looked at the pledge but had not been approached to sign. "There's probably an awareness issue at the moment," a spokesman said.
"We've looked at it, but only as part of a much bigger programme."
Education secretary Alan Johnson admitted the Government had yet to decide how many employers would need to sign up to the skills pledge to make it a success.
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By Daniel Thomas
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