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Viewpoint: Preparing the next generation

19 April 2019 by
Viewpoint: Preparing the next generation

With Brexit nearly upon us, operators will have to make the most of the talent we have on home ground to improve the current staffing situation. Kevin Haygarth explains how Hospitality Associates is preparing

It is estimated that 42% of hospitality sector workers are non-UK nationals. With the Brexit rules of "settled status" likely to cause unrest, with a potential exodus of non-UK industry personnel to occur in volume, we need to work together as an industry to train and educate our young people and returning-to-work population, developing our home-grown talent.

As rumours of a no-deal Brexit continue to rumble beneath the surface, the situation as set out by UKHospitality is bleak when it comes to the employee shortfall faced by the sector. UK hospitality businesses need more than 60,000 new workers per annum from 2019, but it seems that many operators are burying their heads in the sand. If we fail to face this head on, we will no doubt find ourselves in dire straits.

Unfortunately, there remains an upstairs-downstairs mentality in the UK. Young people don't understand the ways in which a hospitality career path can be immensely rewarding, both financially and emotionally. As representatives of our sector, we are failing to sufficiently demonstrate the myriad opportunities and variety of roles available. We do not shout from the rooftops about what we do, and are consequently not being taken seriously; in my view, this is our biggest failing.

In general, we don't train our people well enough and we certainly don't work hard enough to get second and third generations into long-term sustainable employment. We are failing to listen to young people, often choosing to pay minimum apprenticeship wages, which intensifies the transience of workers across all sectors. To my mind and to that end, we are short-sighted, blinkered by our own actions.

The concept is simple: to educate and train the next generation of hospitality professionals by accommodating learning in the real world of an upscale commercial hotel, educating them at every stage from level two to degree apprenticeships. Hotel Future will provide second- and third-generation unemployed people the opportunity to gain long-term sustainable employment, as well as those returning to work after absence. It will be real work, real training with living wage remuneration and pathways to success.

The Hotel Future concept is owned by Hospitality Associates. Its roll-out has started with the plan to use the structure of brand franchises, with Hotel Future operating the commercial elements within a management agreement model.

The model is quite simple and, by embracing it, we can start to make a difference.

Kevin Haygarth is co-founder and director of Hospitality Associates

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