The Caterer Viewpoint – Inspiring Future Talent

Skills London 2019 is supported by many organisations, including Umbrella Training. Read on for a blog from Umbrella Training:

Skills London, the UK’s biggest jobs and careers event, is happening this week and our collaboratively sponsored Virtual Reality Hotel is opening the doors once again to host thousands of 15-24 year olds and their families and schools.

This two-day event aims to provide young people with the opportunity to find their inspiration and to help make those all-important career decisions. We are hoping that by virtually ‘strolling’ through the corridors of some of the most iconic hotels in London, and hearing apprentices talk about their apprenticeships through augmented reality, they will get the ‘hospitality bug’.

We are also hopeful that some of our business partners and their current apprentices and colleagues will manage to spark that connection in person and that some of these amazing young people will see hospitality for what it is – an amazing career choice.

For a hospitality business to inspire trust and create that ‘spark’, they have to be in places like Skills London especially given the recent Government announcement of the Tourism Sector Deal. The deal has a £1 million retention and recruitment campaign, and is to be run to demonstrate to young people that hospitality can be a life-long, fulfilling career.

At Umbrella, we have already started to support this campaign by introducing many schemes such as our Hospitality Superheroes campaign which celebrates the careers of hospitality greats like Brian Turner CBE, Sara Jayne Staines OBE, Cyrus Todiwala OBE DL, Harry Murray MBE FIH.

Our Hospitality Superheroes will be offering mentoring to apprentices in hospitality with a view to support the retention and progression in the industry.

Simpler mentoring arrangements can be made in many hospitality outlets where the best employees can be mentors to new recruits, and/or could be building relationships with local schools and communities to showcase opportunities in hospitality.

As a sector, we must start discussing hospitality as a career option as early as the age of eleven (however the earlier the better!). Our future talent is dynamic, curious and already sitting or eating in some of our outlets. The time of the over-reliance on recruitment through agencies is truly proving to be of the past and we need to come out of our comfort zone and go and dazzle those parents who are so reluctant to accept hospitality as a career.

Another part of Tourism Sector Deal, The Hospitality and Tourism Skills Board, has been formed to oversee a significant increase in the number of approved apprenticeships starts to 30,000 a year by 2025 and a mentoring programme to support 10,000 employees to enhance their careers and ensure they remain within the sector.

Apprenticeships however should not be a numbers game.

Creating meaningful apprenticeship programmes that link into a progressive career path is what will make a difference to that talented 18 year-old to choose your brand. Meaningful apprenticeships programmes that are linked to meaningful jobs – this will make a difference to productivity of your business as well as to the perception of hospitality as a career.

At Skills London, we will all be under one hospitality umbrella. Our goal is to showcase progression opportunities in our sector and to give a structured approach to personal development for anyone who expresses interest. The question hospitality professionals need to ask is: ‘Am I doing that in my business?’. If you’re not, it is time to start.

Meet Umbrella Training at Skills London 2019 and experience their Virtual Reality Hotel in the Crerative, Hospitality, Retail and Leisure Zone. For more information please visit: