People 1st backs new govt-run ‘career colleges’

Skills council People 1st has commended the UK government for announcing a series of 'career colleges' aimed to offer hospitality training courses for 14 to 19-year-olds.

Speaking at the Edge Foundation's annual lecture last week, former Secretary of State for Education Lord Baker unveiled plans to open the educational centres that would offer the conventional English, maths and science subjects alongside vocational qualifications. Students will also benefit from work experience opportunities, information and advice which will be offered from local employers. The first of the new colleges will open in Oldham next year, but there are plans for an extra 40 sites by 2018. The Oldham college will specifically offer courses in hospitality, tourism, catering, health and care, event management, among others.

There are already two colleges, Lambeth College and Bromley College, which are prepared to offer hospitality qualifications, but it is hoped that this rollout of 'career colleges' as an extension of current University Technical Colleges will help boost hospitality recruitment across the UK.

It was also announced by Lord Baker that Luke Johnson and Ruth Gilbert will lead the new Career College Trust.

Martin-Christian Kent, research and policy director at People 1st, said: “Career colleges will give young people a chance to gain an insight into the sector and develop essential skills, alongside academic subjects. Employers have been looking for this type of approach for a long time and it can really help ensure strong career pathways into the sector. It will mean that from a critical age young people will be learning vocational skills, together with maths and English, in context."

Mr Kent added that the hospitality and tourism sector will need to generate an extra 109,500 jobs by 2020, a third of which has to be in management or high craft positions.

Berkeley Scott is a specialist recruitment agency providing hospitality employment solutions.