Operators are being encouraged to support hospitality at a world event that will showcase the benefits of vocational skills across all industry sectors.
World Skills London 2011 will be held at Excel between 5 and 8 October and top industry businesses are being urged to get involved and promote the benefits of working in hospitality.
Springboard chief executive Anne Pierce said the aim was to create an inspiring and interactive "have a go" exhibition at the event.
"World Skills London 2011 is the greatest opportunity the hospitality industry will ever have to showcase the huge variety of jobs and careers that it can offer young people in one go," she said.
Pierce urged employers, colleges and other industry bodies to put their full weight behind it. To this end, Springboard and its partners are appealing to the industry to back the initiative with funding.
"There are three levels of support - Silver (£1,000), Gold (£3,000) and Platinum (£5,000) - for small, medium and larger businesses respectively," she said.
"Sponsors will receive coverage on the stand appropriate to their level of support, but all will be highlighted as among the best employers in the industry.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to promote hospitality as a career for the 21st century and do some first-class talent spotting."
Alongside the competition area for hospitality, Springboard is organising an interactive stand space that will provide careers information and hands-on experiences for the 150,000 14- to 19- year-old visitors, including bed making, "mocktails", and omelette challenges.
Pierce added: "With such a concentration of potential recruits, it's vital that hospitality is able to show it's an industry of critical importance to the nation and one which offers a huge range of career opportunities."
The initiative also has the backing of the British Hospitality Association, the Institute of Hospitality and People 1st.
BHA chief executive Ufi Ibrahim said: "We have the chance to influence a whole generation of young people. We must grab this unique opportunity and put the industry's weight behind it."
Philippe Rossiter, chief executive of the Institute of Hospitality, described it as an opportunity for the whole industry and urged other industry partners to get involved too.
"The last time World Skills was held in the UK was 20 years ago," he said. "We have to make the most of this opportunity."
Those that can't donate cash are being asked to loan goods for the four day spectacular and event organisers are appealing to the UK hospitality industry for the following items:
Chef hats (130)
Warming cabinets (50)
Assorted crockery and utensils (baking trays, mixing bowls, cutlery, carafes, etc)
Cooking oil (35 x 1l bottles)
1,200 x 600 stainless steel work tables, shelves underneath (35)
Table-top mixers (KM-800) (30)
Tablecloths, napkins, butter dishes, bread baskets, serving trays, etc.
Coffee machines (50)
Disposable tablecloths (5,000)
Aidan Jones, executive director of WorldSkills London 2011, said: "In-kind sponsorship from generous companies across Britain will be essential for us to provide this competitive opportunity for young people from around the world.
"We believe that WorldSkills London 2011 will be a huge boost to the UK economy, and that it will leave a legacy of young people inspired by skills, but for this to be a resounding success we need the support of businesses in catering who can lend us the kit we need."
By James Stagg
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