UKHospitality and the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) have launched a scheme to promote jobs in hospitality, after facing significant shortages in staff.

UKHospitality, the trade association for the hospitality sector, has announced it will be running sessions in partnership with the Jobcentre Plus work coaches in every region of England, as well as across Scotland and Wales this month in order to promote the opportunities within the sector.

This comes after a recent survey by Hospitality found that four in five (80 per cent) businesses within the sector reported vacancies for front-of-house roles, such as waiting and bar staff. An even higher number (85 per cent) stated they are in need of chefs.

Nearly half have housekeeping vacancies and 43 per cent are looking for assistant or general managers. The survey suggested a current vacancy rate across the sector of 9 per cent – which implies a shortage of 188,000 workers.

This has been largely attributed to the impact of Brexit which has caused the number of skilled EU workers employed in the UK to fall substantially. Recently, Tim Martin, Founder and Chairman of Wetherspoons, urged the UK Government to set up a “liberal” visa scheme for EU workers to plug the shortage in staff.

Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality, said:

We’re delighted to be working with the Government to restore confidence in a sector which is a stable employer for millions of skilled and unskilled workers across a wide range of diverse roles, and which can play a constructive role in tackling unemployment.

Staff at all levels play a crucial role delivering wonderful hospitality at the very heart of their local communities and employers large and small offer high-class training schemes, apprenticeships and career development pathways.

Prior to Covid, the hospitality industry employed 3.2m people in the UK, making it the third largest private sector employer in the UK. The Government can help to restore confidence in the sector so once again it as seen as a dynamic sector of growth, and a provider of fulfilling careers that will help power the UK’s economic and social recovery.

Minister for Employment Mims Davies MP stated that this initiative, which falls under the Government’s Plan for Jobs, is “levelling up opportunities across the UK” and “supporting workers of all ages to retrain, build news skills and get back into work”.