The Conservatives – as part of implementing their radical welfare reform plans to Get Britain Working – have signed up eleven of the UK’s largest hospitality leisure and tourism companies to support a ‘Service Academy’.

The Academy will provide up to 50,000 training places and work placements for unemployed people over two years.

Under Labour, youth unemployment has hit record levels, and unemployment has risen faster than in many of our competitors. Today’s announcement shows that a Conservative government would be ready to start dealing with Labour’s jobs crisis straight away.

These companies, which include Barcelo Hotels and Resorts, Bourne Leisure, Gala Coral Group, Guoman and Thistle Hotels, InterContinental Hotel Group, Merlin Entertainments Group, Pizza Express, Sodexo, Starbucks, Travelodge and Whitbread PLC, will start a “Service Academy” to train people for jobs in the hospitality sector by fostering an attitude of  customer service in individuals and improving their basic skills.

Unlike the Government’s failing schemes, Service Academies will offer industry-designed training to ensure participants have the soft skills and basic industry skills that employers need.  These industry-led training programmes will also give participants experience of jobs in given sectors before they apply. The training content, materials, structure and delivery means will be designed and determined by businesses. 

Theresa May, the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and Shadow Chancellor George Osborne outlined the plans in a Conservative Party jobs summit at Microsoft.  

“We welcome the support being given by businesses in the hospitality industry and their commitment to helping to tackle unemployment by providing pre-employment training in this service sector”, May said.  

“The creation of a Service Academy will not only give people practical skills but also an entry route into a career in a growing area of business. This is further evidence that The Conservative Party has the ideas to deal with the jobs crisis and get the economy moving again.”

Shadow Chancellor George Osborne said the event and the announcement were part of the bigger economic arguments that the Conservatives have been making:

“The argument that we need a sustainable private sector recovery to create new jobs. That we cannot go on relying on the public sector to provide the great majority of new jobs, as we did over the last decade. That we need a more balanced economic model that moves away from our dependence on debt and towards an economy where we save and invest for the future.

That the biggest risk to the recovery is now our soaring national debt. And that unless we show we can deal with the Government’s record budget deficit we will not get the confidence back in our economy that underpins investment and job creation. This argument is increasingly shared around the world and across the political spectrum. ”

Osborne has also co-authored an article in the Financial Times with Jeffrey Sachs – one of the world’s leading economists and anti poverty campaigners – warning that delaying the start of deficit reduction would put long term economic recovery at risk.