New strategy to help resolve the hospitality staffing crisis in Wales has been launched
A new strategy to help resolve the hospitality staffing crisis in Wales has been launched by UKHospitality Cymru.
Hospitality contributes around £3.6 billion a year to the Exchequer from Wales.
Around 180,000 livelihoods are provided by the industry in Wales; 140,000 directly employed and another 40,000 supplier jobs (pre-Covid figures).
Fixing the crisis: a framework for collaborative action across the sector – examines all aspects of the industry’s labour needs, including recruitment, skills and training, people’s working lives, hospitality’s image as a sector in which to work and the infrastructure to support our employees.
At a UK-wide industry event at Westminster Kingsway College on Tuesday, the workforce strategy seeks to help plug the sector’s 170,000 UK jobs gap against a background of increased raw goods costs, huge energy bill rises, business rates, VAT back to 20 per cent and a dip in consumer confidence due to the cost-of-living crisis.
All of this is exacerbated by a crisis in employment across the economy and in hospitality in particular.
ONS data shows that vacancies now exceed unemployment for the first time.
“For the past five years UKHospitality Cymru has bridge-built between industry, providers and government support and agencies, directly setting up the first ever Wales Hospitality and Tourism Skills Partnership” said David Chapman, Executive Director of UKHospitality Cymru.
“We have a united team in Wales, excited to take on one of the industry’s most serious recruitment challenges ever and this valuable new document will be the industry’s route map for further gains.”
UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls says in the document’s foreword: “This strategy sets out a vision to ensure [hospitality is] fully-resourced with people with the right skills, a clear talent pipeline with established routes of progression and high levels of employee wellbeing. It is based on a partnership approach with industry bodies and governments.”
At the core of the UK-wide strategy is “an ambition to upskill our workforce and create high-quality, high-skilled roles, promoting social mobility.”
Designed to work alongside and support the Wales Hospitality & Tourism Skills Partnership where appropriate, the strategy focuses on five key areas the sector must address:
-recruitment – hospitality must be able to access a wide range of people to fill its vacancies
-skills and training – hospitality is a professional sector that must enshrine high standards and facilitate social mobility
-working lives – hospitality must make people’s working lives enjoyable and fulfilling
-image of the sector – to reset perceptions of the hospitality sector as a great place to work and develop your career
-infrastructure – to ensure that there are no structural barriers to working in the sector – such as poor transport and a lack of housing
Within these areas the strategy examines critical issues such as professional standards, pay, the working environment, equality and diversity, future demand and digital connectivity.
Kate Nicholls adds in her foreword: “It is no exaggeration to say that people make hospitality. Along with the setting, they provide the unique experiences that people crave. Without the great people who create these environments there would be no hospitality sector.
“It is therefore critical that sector businesses are able to cultivate a skilled and dynamic workforce. Hospitality offers a wide range of roles with different skill sets. It provides entry-level to managerial to corporate jobs. People will find great training opportunities and meritocratic career progression.
“A booming hospitality workforce will create a fantastic hospitality experience for all, and a better society. It’s crucial we work collaboratively to deliver on this workforce strategy. It will create economic growth and help to regenerate communities in all parts of the country. Higher employment rates and business levels will generate even further taxation from hospitality to fund and bolster local and national public services. It will also contribute to the UK being a leading tourist destination.”
By working with Welsh Government, the hospitality sector, already best placed to lead the post-pandemic recovery, will deliver on regenerating high streets, and reigniting local economies, with a highly skilled workforce able to unlock the industry’s huge potential.
Immediate next steps include delivering on the objectives of the strategy, engaging with industry and local partners, developing action plans for each measure, and the extension of the Wales industry recruitment campaign, which is supported by Welsh Government.
UKHospitality will also produce an annual report on the state of the hospitality workforce.
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