During the last month, apprenticeships have once again been put in the spotlight; the Government's announcement of the Richard Review, the Big Conversation and the Think Again campaign have all highlighted the importance of apprenticeships to the economy in general and hospitality in particular.
This has been an ongoing trend throughout the past 20 years, as both Government and employers endeavour to promote the advantages - both to individuals and the economy - of undertaking an apprenticeship.
Yet the Government's increasing focus on apprenticeships has led to a number of obligations that do not necessarily result in the best outcomes for the industry. The most recent of these is the introduction of the policy requiring apprenticeships to be a minimum 12-months' duration, which is designed to address issues around quality.
Apprenticeships themselves have a strong tradition within the hospitality industry and many employers continue in this convention. Employers large and small deliver strong apprenticeship programmes that offer a foundation for future career growth. This Government mandate will see the frameworks changed with potentially little improvement when it comes to quality.
Work is underway to address this issue, which will culminate with a submission from the hospitality sector in response to the Richard Review's call for industry engagement. This is our chance to look at what we want apprenticeships in our sector to achieve, what levels they should be used for, and who should access them.
With all the work being done to change the perception of our industry and the implementation of practical solutions to address some of the major issues we face, we will continue to promote hospitality as a fantastic career choice. This will be done with the aim that all of the learning pathways, including apprenticeships, will be valued for the benefits they can offer both business and the learner.
Ruth Asker-Browne is head of professionalism at People 1st