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Employers urged to review hospitality and catering apprenticeships

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3 min read
AUTHOR: Fiona Holland
trainees being taught in a kitchen

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) is urging employers in the UK catering and hospitality industry to contribute to its major review of skills being taught through apprenticeships in the sector.

The organisation is looking for people working for pubs, cafés, hotels, and fast-food service chains, including technical experts, senior managers and leaders of staff development, to contribute to IfATE’s employer-led Trailblazing Group, which will conduct the review process.

Jennifer Coupland, Chief Executive of IfATE, said: “It is vital we hear from employers so we can act fast and make the apprenticeships in catering and hospitality fit for purpose to support growth in the sector.

“We know that the pandemic, Brexit and the cost of living crisis has affected the industry significantly. We want to ensure we have the right apprenticeships available to tackle labour shortages and offer routes into the sector for school leavers and career changers.”

The group has already helped to establish a pastry chef apprenticeship, launching in 2023. It was developed by the IfATE in partnership with experts from Harrods, De Vere and other organisations, who all expressed a demand for the role.

The catering and hospitality sector offers 10 apprenticeship courses in the UK, with two more being developed for the future. They include a variety of front and back of house roles at levels 2, 3 (the equivalent to GCSE and A Level qualifications) and 4 (equivalent to a foundation degree, HNC, or first year of an undergraduate degree.)

The IfATE supports employers on the design and development of all apprenticeships, T Levels and Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs), to help them improve training to fill skills gaps and support trainees into successful food and drink careers.

The organisation’s call for contributions comes at a time when hospitality and catering staff shortages are rising. Research from Peckwater Brands shows that 35% of pub managers and owners are struggling to recruit and keep on enough staff to run their establishments efficiently.

Lee Woolley, Director of Learning and Organisation Development at the Stonegate Group, the largest pub group in the UK, said: “Developing personalised qualifications at all levels is a sure-fire way of engaging and retaining great people.

“At Stonegate Group we have hundreds of learners engaged with apprenticeships across dozens of titles, metrics prove that it more than halves staff turnover rates.

“I would like to take this opportunity to urge businesses right across our sector to support IfATE with updating and improving the training available – so it meets our skills needs now and in future.”

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