Best Western GB CEO urges more support for hospitality apprentices

With National Apprentices Week kicking off this week (March 14-18), Best Western GB’s CEO, Rob Payne, representing the group’s 260+ independent hotels, is urging more hospitality businesses to take on apprentices.  

Best Western GB CEO Rob Payne
Best Western GB CEO Rob Payne

“I am particularly passionate about making the hospitality industry a first choice career for school leavers and graduates. I started my career as a graduate trainee and built up a wealth of experience working across different departments. We work in an incredible industry and more people should be joining us earlier. There is a serious shortage of employees in the hospitality sector, an issue that is only going to be compounded in future years.” Payne comments.

“With more Governmental support and industry buy-in, we believe that we can address the skills deficit within the hospitality industry, as well as attract and support quality employees. One way of attracting more young people into hospitality is through the wider promotion and implementation of apprentice schemes available within businesses.”

The 2010 – 2020 Working Futures report projects that accommodation and food services industries in the UK will require almost 524,000 more staff by the year 2020. According to workforce development charity People 1st, as the UK economy continues to recover, employers in the hospitality sector have found recruitment increasingly difficult, with 18% of employers reported having a vacancy. This is a rise of 2% since 2011.

One hotel that is reaping the benefits of employing apprentices is Best Western Salford Hall Hotel in Stratford upon Avon, who has been employing apprentices for several years, with many permanent staff at the hotel, particularly in the kitchens, having started off as apprentices.

One of the hotel’s apprentices, Lucy Durrant, 18, started in August 2015 on a Level 2 Apprenticeship and having had such a positive experience, she intends to continue onto Level 3 in August 2016. She works in a front of house role and is currently training on reception, too.

“My apprenticeship at the Best Western Salford Hall hotel has been a great way to see different aspects of the job and decide what I want to specialise in further down the line. Before I joined, I had no idea there were so many different things you could do in hospitality! I think it really helps you get to places and is good for my CV. My manager is really supportive and helps me with my coursework and development, and doing the course is definitely a positive for me.”

Rob Payne added: “A huge proportion of our hotels are family businesses and career hoteliers who understand the nature of the hospitality industry both from a parents’ perspective and a professional one. I see a huge opportunity for young people entering the work force and am keen for us to work more closely with the British Hospitality Association and Springboard to compliment the work they are already doing to help make our industry a career first choice, not an afterthought.”

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