Global hotel company Hilton Worldwide will offer 100 school leavers and young job seekers the chance to develop their hospitality skills at its newly launched apprenticeship academy.
Timed to coincide with the release of GCSE and A-Level results, the unveiling of the new academy aims to get more young people into the hospitality industry at a time when many are turning their backs on it.
A recent survey of 16 to 24-year olds by online reservation service Livebookings revealed that 43 per cent would not enter the hospitality sector due to concerns over the repetitive nature of work in the industry.
Hilton is looking to challenge these conceptions with their new apprenticeship scheme, which will offer successful applicants the chance to train in one of six disciplines.
Over a 12-month course, apprentices will be trained in either professional cookery, front office, food and beverage service, multi-skilled hospitality service, exercise and fitness or sales. Those who complete the course will gain a Level 2 Apprenticeship qualification equivalent to five A-C GCSEs.
Ben Bengougam, Hilton Worldwide's vice president for human resources in Europe, claimed that the academy will provide the perfect alternative to mainstream education for those looking to enter the hospitality industry.
He said: "Attracting the right talent into our business at all levels remains integral to our business strategy, especially at a time where we are experiencing rapid growth across the UK.
"We recognise the need to ensure young people have access to opportunities and training so they obtain the necessary skills to make them attractive in a global marketplace."
The scheme, co-created by the hotel business and training provider Lifetime UK, is not the first apprenticeship initiative developed by Hilton.
In 2010, the company launched its Chef Apprenticeship Academy, which has trained more than 60 apprentices and seen 95 per cent of them go on to secure permanent hospitality employment.
John Hayes, the UK Skills Minister, welcomed Hilton's latest effort to get more young people into the hospitality industry.
He said: "It is fantastic news that Hilton Worldwide is expanding its apprenticeship programme which will help it to secure high-quality skills across a range of disciplines.
"Apprenticeships not only provide opportunities for the brightest and best, they are a driving force in creating a highly-skilled workforce that can help grow the nation's economy."
His comments were echoed by James Fox, an apprentice at the final stages of the chef apprentice programme, who praised the programme for encouraging him to find a hospitality role.
"Although I didn't grow up wanting to work in hospitality I now feel like I've found my calling," he said.
"The apprenticeship gave me a strong theoretical grounding in a practical environment and the people I've met here have been really inspiring – hospitality is an exciting industry."
From October, Hilton Worldwide will take on at least 25 apprentices in each quarter from a range of locations across the country, including Aberdeen and Southampton.
Hilton and Lifetime UK's bespoke programme offers applicants on the job training from professionally qualified experts, on site mentors, development workshops and master classes.
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