Bridging Skills Gap Vital to Securing Future of Hospitality Industry

Hospitality expert and fast-moving entrepreneur Steven Hesketh of Know Collection talks candidly about the need to get young people passionate about hospitality 

The hospitality industry is growing at a fast rate, I’ve seen dozens of restaurants and bars open across Liverpool this year. Some of which are featured as the UK’s top restaurants and many are leading the way in the movement of healthy eating, including our own Love Thy Neighbour.

Recognised as a booming sector, it is reported to be the catalyst for future economic development and job creation. Yet there is a growing need for qualified chefs, bar tenders, waitresses and managers, and the scale of recruitment to meet the demand for well trained staff is staggering.

Staff turnover remains a huge industry issue, Peoples 1st estimates 1.3 million employees in the UK industry will need to be recruited by 2024 of which 975,000 are replacements of staff who have left. Whilst growth is positive and businesses attempt to train new staff, the industries high staff turnover simply outweighs the supply of skilled workers. 

So how do businesses fill that void in the continually expanding industry? By addressing the industries reputation on ‘poor career prospects’. A survey identified one third of parents would actively discourage their children from working in hospitality and only 17% of parents saw hospitality careers positively. Yet critics fail to see that the sector is comprised of many diverse and rewarding careers. Joining at entry level can act as a stepping-stone on the path to high paying, long-term careers as employers often offer unbeatable advancement opportunities to driven workers.

What’s our solution? The hospitality industry needs to attract a future workforce. That’s why we developed the Know Hospitality Academy that offers on-the-job training and education to young people. Vocational training backed by the government allows trainees to see a future in the industry. It immerses trainees into the operations and culture of hospitality. At the end of the program trainees will have gained tangible experiences that boosts their hospitality career prospects. 

In October, 2017 – we have opening an intake of a further 15 trainees, for our eight week programme, for 16-24 year olds. Schemes like ours provide direction for trainees starting out whilst building on their skills and strengths. It’s important for businesses to help create and shape the future for leadership in hospitality. If you’re in a position where you can start to make a change, I urge you to start today.