The hospitality industry has long been a key pillar of the UK economy, representing around 10% of national employment and about 5% of GDP.
However, in recent years, the sector has fallen on hard times, having been hit by a severe shortage of skilled labour.
Seeking to address this issue and help the industry get back on its feet, the government has announced a new training scheme that will encourage jobseekers to consider a career in hospitality.
But before we learn about the Hospitality Skills Passport, let’s firstly take a closer look at the current state of the industry…
Labour shortages in the hospitality industry
It’s no secret that the hospitality industry was hit especially hard by the pandemic. More so than in other industries, many workers were furloughed and, out of necessity, forced to look for work in other industries.
Pandemic-imposed shortages have been further compounded by Brexit, with new visa requirements making it much harder for many of the EU workers that the hospitality industry has relied on historically to emigrate to the UK.
Under the new points-based system, Tier 2 General Work Visa applicants must receive a job offer of at least £25,600 per year or £10.10 per hour for entry into the UK. Many of the salaries currently on offer in the industry, particularly in the lower positions that employers are struggling to fill, fall below these requirements.
These two factors have put unprecedented stress on employers in the search for talent. According to a recent study, 37.4% of hospitality businesses struggled with worker shortages last year. This figure makes the hospitality sector the industry most significantly impacted by worker shortages, with the average for the year being just 14%.
Altogether, it’s believed that there are currently around 120,000 vacancies in the sector, putting the industry in desperate need of a solution.
Enter, the Hospitality Skills Passport.
What is the Hospitality Skills Passport?
Announced in September, the Hospitality Skills Passport is a new scheme for fast-tracked training and employment within the hospitality sector, delivered in partnership with training provider, Springboard, and industry trade body, UKHospitality.
Largely targeting benefit claimants and the unemployed, the initiative encourages jobseekers to complete qualifications and accredited training in areas like licensing, health and safety, conflict resolution and food safety.
Collectively, these qualifications make us the Hospitality Skills Passport, a digital pass that jobseekers can add to their CV to show employers they have the required skills for a role in hospitality.
The scheme, which has been endorsed by key players in the hospitality industry like Greene King and Marriot Hotels, is being trialled in Liverpool, with plans to expand to other big cities, including London, Birmingham and Manchester, from October.
Is the Hospitality Skills Passport the answer?
The Hospitality Skills Passport should certainly help break down barriers to a career in hospitality – not least because those that complete the training will be guaranteed a job interview and a secure pathway to apprenticeships.
However, the reasons for the hospitality industry’s labour shortages run much deeper than a lack of training. Many jobseekers will still be put off by the low wages, long hours and lack of job security that come with many jobs in the sector.
The good news, though, is that the government is aiming (and collaborating with the industry) to spark positive change in the sector. Only time will tell whether the Hospitality Skills Passport is the change it needs.
Do you work in hospitality and will be affected by the Hospitality Skills Passport? If so, we’d love to hear from you!
And are you looking to rent a kitchen? Nestled in the heart of Birmingham, our demonstration kitchen is the perfect space for food styling and recipe development – get in touch today to enquire about the space.