How Springboard Addresses the Hospitality Skills Shortage


Hospitality has long suffered from a severe skills shortage. More than a third of the food and drink industry’s workforce is due to retire by 2020 and this pressing problem may have a dangerous impact on the sensitive British economy.

The UK hospitality industry has created 331,000 new jobs since 2010, and supports 4.6 million jobs according to the British Hospitality Association. Despite this substantial contribution to the UK economy, there is a deficit of recruits coming through the ranks. In an industry which caters to so many of the population, the importance of tackling this issue directly is paramount.

fc1The Springboard Charity addresses the industry-wide skills shortage through a host of programmes. Springboard’s FutureChef targets 12-16 year old school pupils, whilst ‘IntoWork’ programmes target young people and unemployed adults. Regardless of age, gender or background, Springboard supports people into employment in the industry, and provides a recruitment pipeline to address the skills shortage.

Springboard’s FutureChef gives young people a life skill and encourages the next generation of chefs, whilst directly relating to the national curriculum. It aims to tackle the severe skills shortage facing hospitality by inspiring 12-16 year olds to develop their cooking skills and understanding of nutrition. In doing so, FutureChef provides a natural pipeline of talent to culinary careers.

Brian Turner CBE, Springboard’s FutureChef Chairman said: “FutureChef encourages young, motivated and talented people into careers as chefs. It inspires young people to learn new skills and understand nutrition.”

FutureChef features a four stage national competition and since it began, 98,548 young school pupils have participated in the competition. When it began in 2000, FutureChef involved 127 school pupils; last year it featured 8,239 pupils.

Young individuals like Ruth have gone on to great success thanks to FutureChef. Ruth took part in FutureChef in 2010, 2011, and 2012. She was the runner up at the National Final in 2012 and following her success she was offered a place at Westminster Kingsway College, where many FutureChef alumni have been. Ruth won the ‘Apprentice Chef Award’ at the 20th Craft Guild of Chefs Awards 2013. She is currently living in London whilst working at The Ritz and next year she is representing England in Brazil at the World Skills show.

Ruth said: “FutureChef is an amazing initiative. Springboard opens the door to all the contacts who can help you succeed in hospitality. Most importantly they give you the confidence you need to achieve what you are capable of.”

FutureChef is not alone as a Springboard success story. The KickStart programme is aimed at 16-24 year olds and provides a foothold onto the career ladder for those leaving school, college and university who are unsure of their future career path. The programme simultaneously offers hospitality-based work experience and also raises awareness of the career progression routes available in hospitality. Last year 117 candidates completed the programme, with 98% moving in a positive direction (i.e. employment or education).
Will Yarney benefitted incredibly from his time on KickStart. Thanks to Springboard’s support he secured his first work placement at age 16 in hospitality. Since then he has had various roles, but now manages The Woodford, recently crowned the Evening Standard’s Restaurant of the Year. “This programme was the door to the start of my journey”, Will said, “I’ve not looked back since.”

Springboard also promotes hospitality, leisure and tourism as a great place to work through CareerScope. CareerScope showcases the breadth of the industry across restaurants, hotels, and food service management groups, as well as the range of roles and opportunities for career progression.

Throughout the year Springboard’s CareerScope runs careers campaigns to attract talent to the industry. Upcoming in October is National Waiters Day, which forms part of the first ever Front of House Festival (17th – 21st October).

nwd1National Waiters Day aims to inspire young people and jobseekers to choose front of house hospitality roles as their first choice career option. Springboard encourages hospitality businesses to get involved and offer talks, taster events and opportunities which highlight the breadth of front of house roles. The spotlight falls on the Waiters’ Day races, which will take in Hyde Park (London), Wivenhoe House (Colchester) and The Grand (Eastbourne), with other races being planned across the UK.

Front of House Festival will showcase different areas of front of house careers – from baristas and bartenders to guest services. Over five days, the industry will be promoted and Springboard is currently welcoming businesses to get involved to offer skills demos, challenges, buddy days and talks to help showcase hospitality.

Mission Apprentice promotes apprenticeships in hospitality. Ahead of the apprenticeship levy next year, Springboard is working with employer partners to channel candidates from our initiatives into their apprenticeships. This is designed to ensure young people are properly informed in schools about apprenticeships as an alternate route to university.

Springboard continues to make a difference to both lives and businesses, providing a talent pipeline for the industry, where excellent careers are on offer. Springboard CEO, Anne Pierce said: “Springboard is here for the industry to address the skills shortage it faces, promoting it as a great place to work. Springboard makes a difference to businesses by providing a talent pipeline of recruitment, and also makes a difference to lives, as regardless of age, gender or background, Springboard can offer support and guidance into hospitality careers.”

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