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Hospitality's tight purse drives Government funding elsewhere

17 November 2005

The hospitality industry has missed out on a multimillion-pound Government training initiative after failing to put its money where its mouth is.

Sector Skills Council People 1st failed to win one of the Government's new National Skills Academies (NSAs) sector- led training centres or networks, because it was unable to prove that hospitality businesses were willing to match Government cash.

Instead, the construction, food and drink manufacturing, financial services and engineering sectors will become inaugural NSAs, potentially attracting up to 10m of extra funding to tackle skills gaps in their sectors.

Bids for NSA status required industries to prove why they needed extra cash for training, how they would spend the money on improving training, and that businesses would support the initiative financially.

People 1st chief executive Brian Wisdom said: "We are obviously disappointed that the sector is not among the first to be awarded a National Skills Academy. However, we were extremely pleased to reach the final shortlist against industries with a track record of significant employer funding."

Last year People 1st received just £67,000 from businesses, compared with the £100m paid out by employers in construction.
People 1st's bid on behalf of hospitality and tourism had included plans to roll out Compass's Junior Chefs' Academy and the development of a national barista qualification based on current Costa Coffee training.

Hospitality will now have a second bite at the cherry when the Government starts a new tendering process next spring to meet its eventual aim of 12 NSAs by 2008.

Last month People 1st published research highlighting that staff shortages in the hospitality and tourism industry were reaching crisis point. If left unchecked, it said, the problem would cost the industry £6.2b a year by the time the capital hosts the Olympics in 2012.

By Chris Druce

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Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

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