Hospitality industry pledges new jobs for young people

More than 30,000 new job opportunities will be created in the UK hospitality industry over the next two years.

The pledge, recently announced by the British Hospitality Association (BHA), includes almost 15,000 permanent jobs, 11,000 apprenticeships and in excess of 5,000 paid university work placements.

Bosses of leading hotel and restaurant groups presented the job creation promise to Employment Minister Mark Hoban, highlighting how the sector is fuelling jobs growth nationwide.

At present, hospitality and tourism accounts for over 10% of the UK's total workforce - making it the fourth largest sector.

But the Big Conversation, which is the hospitality industry's biggest ever job creation drive, is expected to further this influence as growth continues to significantly outpace the rest of the economy.

"The hospitality industry provides a diverse range of career prospects for people of all ages, but particularly for young people who are starting out and still exploring what career path they would like to take," said Mr Hoban.

"I'd encourage young people to seize these opportunities."

The sector is estimated to contribute 8% to total GDP, or around 115 billion per annum. Since 2010, it has generated over one quarter of all new jobs created at 153,000.

Young people are the main focus of the new pledge, especially the 18-24 age group, of which one million are currently out of work.

Hospitality is widely regarded to be uniquely suited to employing young people and helping them take their first steps towards a rewarding career.

A series of discussion-based events where industry leaders meet young people will form the basis of the Big Conversation, aiming to find out what they have to say and to learn about the challenges they face in finding work, apprenticeships and work placements.

The BHA will lead the drive, with help from Business in the Community - one of the Prince of Wales' charities - and the charity Springboard.

As well as the discussion events, every tourism and hospitality business in the UK is being challenged to employ more people aged between 18 and 24 or to offer apprenticeships and work experience.

Copyright Press Association 2013