Hoteliers in the north-east have thrown their weight behind a campaign to connect young people with the workplace – in an attempt to address skill shortages.
In conjunction with the Developing the Young Workforce North East (DYWNE) team, Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels Association (ACSHA) has signed the first regional partnership with the Young Person’s Guarantee (YPG).
YPG aims to give all young people in Scotland aged 16-24 the opportunity of a job, apprenticeship, further or higher education, training programme or volunteering.
Skills shortage across sector
ACSHA chairman Frank Whitaker said: “There is a huge short-term labour challenge across many sectors at the moment.
“We are working on how our sector stands out in the recruitment market while continuing to work on the longer-term skills shortage we face.
“Working with DYW North East has been a key part of our approach to improving that skills shortage in the future.
“Thirteen of our members already have a partnership with a school and that is really important to us.
“It seemed logical to take the next step and formalise that process with our commitment to the Young Person’s Guarantee, because we’re already working to the level of support and partnership that’s needed.”
Attracting talent is aim
ACSHA, an association representing more than 50 hotels, conference venues and tourism companies in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, has committed to communicating the benefits of the guarantee and influencing its members to support young people.
The partnership means the association will take a leading role in championing the guarantee to its members and wider network.
There are currently eight ACSHA hotels taking part in the Hospitality Apprenticeship North East (Hane) programme.
These are Banchory Lodge, The Chester Hotel, Douneside House, The Fife Arms, Jurys Inn Aberdeen, Marcliffe Hotel and Spa, Maryculter House and Meldrum House Hotel.
The paid apprenticeship programme has been developed by hoteliers to attract talent into the north-east hospitality industry.
Jack O’ Dea, is taking part in the scheme at The Chester Hotel in Aberdeen.
The 19-year-old said: “The hospitality sector really appeals to me as a vibrant industry with diverse opportunities across many different disciplines in both front of house and behind the scenes, from housekeeping to the kitchen.
“Gaining experience through the Hane apprenticeship will give me a grounding in all areas of the hotel and opens up a raft of careers for me here in Aberdeen, across the UK and globally.
“There will also be hospitality roles and if I want to work abroad in future, my skills will be transferrable.
“Each department I work in will have a defined career development route for young adults, and as I learn every day is different.”
As well as building on the Hane programme, the association will continue to provide a range of other apprenticeships, trainee positions, school leaver positions and part-time jobs.
A successful Taste of Hospitality event was held in November 2019, which has led to plans for a Hospitality Careers Challenge to be rolled out to the region’s schools in 2022.
The challenge aims to bring the world of work into the classroom and show young people what the hospitality sector can offer.
Hospitality worth billions to industry
Prior to the pandemic, the sector was the third largest private sector employer and the
largest sub-sector of the tourism industry.
It employed 3.2 million people, producing £130 billion of economic activity and generating £39bn in tax for the UK Government.
DYWNE director Mary Holland said: “The pandemic has had a disproportionate economic effect on Scotland’s young people, reducing job opportunities just as they are starting out on their career.
“To make sure their prospects are not permanently damaged, we are asking employers to come forward and join what is a crucial intervention and commit to the Young Person’s Guarantee.
“We also recognise there are organisations that have a different role to play in supporting the Young Person’s Guarantee, which is where ACSHA’s support is so important.
“Young people bring a wealth of talent, creativity, and enthusiasm, critical now and for future success.
“DYW and the YPG are here to help employers develop a future pipeline of skills and
experience with young people at the heart of the workforce.”