In the realm of UK hospitality, a pressing challenge looms large: the workforce crisis. Addressing this issue head-on at Casual Dining, Kate Nicholls OBE, the CEO of UKHospitality, led a crucial discussion on workforce and skills, outlining innovative strategies to tackle the sector’s declining job openings despite a staggering 3.2 million opportunities.
Collaborative initiatives for change
In a collaborative effort with the government, UKHospitality has embarked on impactful initiatives to bridge the workforce gap. These include:
- New employment programs: Tailored programmes to empower aspiring individuals
- Sector-specific work academies: Focused training to enhance industry-specific skills
- Digital skills passports: A digital frontier to equip workers with essential tech expertise
Enhancing the industry’s image
Recognising the need for transformation, Kate emphasised the importance of revamping the sector’s image, particularly among younger generations. Key efforts include:
- Advocacy for reforms: Urging the government to acknowledge hospitality jobs, including chefs, receptionists, and front-of-house staff, as skilled roles
- Youth training: Dedicated training for the younger workforce, arming them with valuable skills
- Local authority engagement: Collaboration with local authorities and regional mayors to prioritise hospitality in skills, training, and funding agendas
Thanks to these initiatives, 27 out of 31 local authority areas have placed hospitality at the forefront of their priorities, underscoring the industry’s vital role in the UK’s economic landscape.
Focus on fairness and transparency
Beyond skills enhancement, the industry is committed to fairness and transparency. Kate underscored the need for:
- Fair working conditions: Ensuring equitable treatment for all employees
- Investment in employee health: Prioritising the well-being of the workforce
- Clarity in work hours: Transparent communication regarding working hours
- Flexible work schedules: Embracing flexibility to accommodate diverse workforce needs
In her closing remarks, Kate highlighted those businesses operating at full capacity, supported by skilled and motivated workers, are not only crucial for the industry’s growth but also for the overall prosperity of the UK’s economy.
For a detailed insight into these strategies, the comprehensive Hospitality Workforce Strategy can be accessed here, offering a roadmap towards a thriving future for the UK’s hospitality sector.