An apprenticeship can be a springboard into a long and varied career in hospitality, says Kathryn Austin, director of HR at Pizza Hut Restaurants
With National Apprenticeship Week upon us (14-18 March), it's no secret that apprenticeships can be a great way for people to increase their skills and knowledge and get a head start in their career. In recent years, there's been a huge drive around apprenticeships, with the Government pledging to create three million by 2020.
But it's not just a numbers game; high-quality apprenticeship programmes play a vital role in helping to tackle the skills gaps UK industries are facing. By encouraging new people into the industry and equipping them with the right training and development to meet the needs of their business, apprenticeships have a lot to offer.
For the hospitality industry, this is especially true. As the fourth largest employer in the UK, with expectations for a further 16% growth by 2020, there is a huge demand for skilled workers. Apprenticeships can add value by opening the doors to a career not just within a restaurant environment but also in leadership and management roles.
People really are at the heart of this industry; its very nature is focused on service and successful hospitality businesses recognise and build their business around this. It might be simple, but if your team members are happy, if you treat your people right and provide them with the right skills, they in turn will provide better service, which directly affects your customer.
At Pizza Hut Restaurants we are going through a hugely exciting time, with one of the biggest business turnarounds in the history of hospitality. Following an investment, we've been re-launching each of our restaurants with new interiors and we've also launched a new menu with items like fried pickles and ribs. Together, these initiatives have had a very positive effect on our business and have helped us to attract newer, younger audiences.
We recognise the importance of helping people learn, develop and grow with our business so they will stay with us. More than a third of our staff that work above restaurant level started out in one of our restaurants and worked their way up. There are opportunities for everyone - from servers to food innovators. By offering apprenticeships from level 1 through to degree level, we believe we can provide potential and existing employees with the choice to develop their career in their own way.
For us, and many others in our industry, apprenticeships are about offering a quality entry route into hospitality. By providing a structured programme, including a mix of academic and practical modules, employees will not only gain a fantastic skills base in hospitality, but also skills for life.
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