Hospitality industry asked to pledge support for youth jobs campaign

Businesses in the hospitality industry have been asked to pledge to provide 20,000 structured work placements and 10,000 apprenticeships for young workers.

It forms part of a wider campaign to boost hospitality recruitment among those aged 18 to 24 at a time of soaring youth unemployment.

Patrick Dempsey, managing director of Whitbread's hotels and restaurants, asked industry leaders to increase the number of young people they take on through work placements and apprenticeships at the recent inaugural Hospitality and Tourism Summit in London, organised by the British Hospitality Association.

He also asked them to pledge to make 20 per cent of all new jobs available to those in the 18 to 24-year-old unemployed category

"That would make a real difference to the lives of so many young people who currently haven’t got a job," he said.

The commitment forms part of the Big Conversation campaign, set to be officially launched next month, which already has the support 50 leading companies in the hospitality sector.

"The Big Conversation is about pulling the industry together to make a positive impact on the youth unemployed and the skills of this workforce generally," said Mr Dempsey.

Premier Inn, one of Whitbread's best known brands, has itself committed to providing 60 work placements this summer as well as 5,000 apprenticeships over the next five years.

In addition, it has pledged to give 50 per cent of the company's new jobs to young unemployed people.

Mr Dempsey argued that the sector is in a unique position to offer employment opportunities to the UK's youth after going through a period of significant expansion.

"It's been the biggest expansion in the industry’s history," he said 

"So the hotel industry has more opportunities than ever before to offer quality, structured school work placements, apprenticeships and target the youth unemployed."

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