The hospitality industry needs to work harder at attracting this year's school-leavers and graduates in order to persuade them to opt for a career in the sector, the Academy of Food & Wine warned today.
Nick Scade, the Academy's director and chief executive, said: "As school leavers receive their exam results and make important decisions about their future, the hospitality industry must make sure it is not overlooked as a career option.
"There are a huge number of opportunities, whether in hotels, restaurants or contract catering, all of which can offer exciting, fulfilling careers.
"This is a young industry - it's commonplace to find good people in their 20s and 30s running a front-of-house operation, becoming head chefs, running divisions for contract caterers or even working as hotel managers.
"There's a bright future to be had for well-trained, motivated recruits. We need to communicate our merits more effectively," he added.
The call came a day before Sector Skills Council People 1st is due to launch a television advertising campaign extolling the virtues of working in the sector.
By Daniel Thomas
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