An extensive initiative is underway to prepare the hospitality industry for an upcoming one million vacancies.
The initiative, run by the National Skills Academy for Hospitality, will endorse hospitality training programmes that meet specific standards and criteria.
It is hoped training programmes that receive a stamp of approval from the Academy will stimulate and develop new skills needed in the hospitality industry.
The National Skills Academy for Hospitality, a not for profit organisation, said they are responding to a demand for skills in the industry that will escalate in the coming months. The hospitality sector, which has escaped from the economic downturn relatively unscathed, will continue to grow and recruit, according to the Academy’s Chairman Bob Cotton.
The increase in the demand for hospitality skills, they said, will be spurred by seasonal demand, people retiring and those leaving the industry. Despite the recession, the Academy has predicted around one million vacancies in the industry in the next 12 months.
The industry is already affected by skills shortages in management and leadership, customer service and chefs.
If a course is approved by the Academy, they will "reap the reward of being recognised as excellent," according to the Academy’s chief executive, David McHattie.
He said the initiative would raise standards and increase the availability of training programmes.
"Shining a light on the excellence found and increasing the availability of these programmes will not only raise the standards of training throughout the hospitality industry but enhance our reputation with the talent of the future," said Mr McHattie.
Several programmes have been identified, approved and recognised so far.
They are a New Advanced Apprenticeship to provide students with skills to run a successful pub, restaurant or bar; Diplomas in Professional Cookery; Diplomas in Professional Cookery intended to set a new standard of delivery in chef qualifications; Chef Master Classes for those who want to develop their existing skills; and Junior Chefs Academies, a 10-week Saturday morning college programme that provides 14-16 year olds with basic cooking skills.
The Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) will be working with the Academy and partners to establish several Junior Chefs Academies in the Northwest.
Douglas Gyte,tourism development manager at NWDA, said the programme will act as a vehicle for talented individuals who want to further a career as a chef.
"This programme provides fantastic opportunities for our potential chefs to develop their interest in the profession and gain expertise. The programme aims to stimulate interest and encourage more talented young chefs to pursue a career in the industry," said Mr Douglas.
He called the development of chefs important and integral to the overall success of the hospitality industry.
Pictured: David McHattie (centre) with trainee chefs from Westminster College