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72% of Hospitality, Leisure & Travel Employers: Vocational learning unsuitable!

Most employers and trade associations in the UK hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism sector feel that the training and qualifications on offer to them are inadequate, according to a survey conducted by People 1st, the Sector Skills Council.

The survey also revealed that 75 per cent of industry believes the responsibility for addressing skills problems in the sector lies across business, government and learning establishments. 54 per cent of respondents want to see all of the industrys key players brought together to tackle skills gaps, with 24.4 per cent wanting to see improved sharing of best practice throughout the sector.

The survey was carried out among a base of employers (37 per cent ), trade associations (36 per cent ), training providers (18 per cent ) and government agencies (9 per cent ) at People 1sts launch conference in early December. The skills needs of the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism industries were discussed at the conference, called Future View, which featured key note speeches from Sir Francis Mackay, Executive Chairman of Compass Group, and the Minister for State for Education, Kim Howells, as well as contributions from the Tourism Minister, Richard Caborn and Digby Jones, Director General of the CBI.

Additional research by People 1st revealed that nearly a third of employers in the UKs hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism industries are experiencing skills gaps in their current workforces, which have a negative impact on the bottom line of these businesses. Skills shortages are posing a threat to the future of these £21.5 billion industries, which produce 4 per cent of GDP, with more than 12,000 job vacancies remaining unfilled because of a lack of candidates with the skills needed to do the job.

Brian Wisdom, CEO of People 1st, said: “Employers in the sector are reporting that their staff lack the very skills which should form the basis of their businesses, such as customer care, communication and team working skills. We all understand the adverse effects an under-skilled workforce has on productivity and profitability. The challenge for People 1st now is to ensure employers make the necessary investment in skills and also to ensure the qualifications and training on offer deserve their investment. We need to raise the game on skills across industry.

“People 1st wants to see increased completion rates for qualifications and learning programmes, greater investment in training, higher skill levels, higher productivity levels, and reduced staff turnover. Training and qualifications need to be specific to both employers businesses and to individual employee career development.”

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