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Thu 17th Jun 2021 - UKHospitality unveils 12-point plan to tackle sector staffing crisis
UKHospitality unveils 12-point plan to tackle sector staffing crisis: UKHospitality has unveiled a new 12-point plan to tackle the current staffing crisis facing an industry that remains in a hugely fragile state following more than a year of closures and severely restricted trading. Recent UKHospitality research has confirmed widespread anecdota reports of an acute shortage in various roles, particularly front-of-house staff and chefs, which in some areas is preventing sites opening and forcing businesses to restrict their trading hours. While there are a variety of reasons for the current shortage, ongoing lack of confidence in the hospitality sector is having a damaging impact on recruitment efforts, the trade body said. To redress this shortage, UKHospitality has produced a comprehensive 12-point plan that aims to help attract people to jobs and careers in the sector and fill vacancies. The plan focuses on short-term solutions the sector is facing but also looks at some medium and long-term actions, outlining what both employers can do and how the government can support these efforts. This includes short-term actions to boost collaboration between the industry and government, schools, colleges and universities, along with broader measures to improve perceptions of the sector as an employer, introduce new qualifications and grow the pool of available workers in the economy. In the short term, UKHospitality has called on the government to commit as early as possible to remove all restrictions and restore confidence in working in the sector. The trade body said government – central and local – and the industry needs to highlight the looming deadline for Settled Status applications (30 June) and reassure workers overseas they can return. The industry will also work closely with the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) and others to promote jobs and careers in the sector, with government ministers talking up the sector at every opportunity. The industry will engage with secondary schools, colleges and universities to encourage their students into the sector when term finishes and will continue to work in collaboration with the DWP to make sure Kickstart works to the fullest for young people and the sector. The plan called for the Treasury to immediately freeze the liquidation of employers’ Apprenticeship Levy funding – to allow industry to invest in high-quality training. Meanwhile, UKHospitality will facilitate additional promotion of the CareerScope website, with the hospitality and tourism sector to launch a recruitment and retention campaign. In the medium term, the plan involves expediting the introduction of a catering T-level and committing to a hospitality T-level; and the government amending the Shortage Occupation List and ensuring chefs and other vital roles are returned to the list – alongside a Youth Mobility Scheme. The plan also called for the reduced rate of VAT to be made permanent and the employer national insurance contribution threshold doubled to support businesses to grow and pay higher wages. In the long term, the plan called for a review of the impact of the new immigration system and its effect on the competitiveness and recovery of the hospitality sector and the wider economy. The plan follows the launch of a new partnership between UKHospitality and the DWP to promote jobs in hospitality, which saw sessions run by work coaches in every region of England, as well as across Scotland and Wales earlier this month. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Hospitality offers a wonderfully diverse range of roles and exciting careers and is a stable employer for millions of people across the UK. Staff at all levels play a crucial role delivering world-class hospitality at the very heart of their communities, with employers large and small offering high-class training schemes, apprenticeships and career development pathways. However, it’s clear we need to attract new people to our sector and highlight the benefits of a job or career in hospitality. Prior to the pandemic, we employed 3.2 million people and were the third-largest private sector employer in the UK. By working closely with government on implementing this plan, the sector can restore confidence and bounce back even stronger, so hospitality is once again seen as a dynamic and exciting sector of growth, and a provider of fulfilling careers that will help power the UK’s economic and social recovery.”

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