Fred Sirieix: "The UK should have a hospitality minister"

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

Today, Maître d'hôtel and TV presenter Fred Sirieix will be visiting the Job Centre in Peckham to launch the Hospitality Works campaign. 

A collaboration between Fred Sirieix, The Springboard Charity, UKHospitality and the British Beer and Pub Association, with new support from the Department for Work and Pensions as well as employers around the country, the three week initiative will promote hospitality as a great industry to work in.

The aim is to address the skills and staff shortage in the field and boost employment in a time of uncertainty for the country.  

"Unfortunately we have a big skills and and staff shortage which is a fantastic opportunity for everybody who wants to join in the industry and wants to succeed in a career and progress"

The front of house manager wants to show people that they too could climb their way from entry level jobs in the industry to the top: "If you start at bottom, there is no barrier to progression and to success."

His advice to anyone wanting to join the industry is to start by applying for placements and stages and to try different things, from pubs to hotels and fast food chains, and that although "room service might not be what you want to do your whole life," this can be a stepping stone.

Part of the reason the industry is struggling to recruit people could be down to the way it is perceived, a vision which he said has been reinforced by the government recently, when they labelled all the hospitality industry as low skilled.

"Just as much as it is damning and untrue, it is also a statement of intent with the way that they intend to fund - or rather not fund - professional education."

The situation is increasingly urgent, he said, given Britain's looming exit from the European Union. 

"If you want to go for Brexit , go for Brexit but then think about how you're going to replace a workforce if you have a professional education that is not fit for purpose, a qualification system which is obsolete and completely distrusted by the public and therefore the parents who are going to not inquire for their kids to do this qualification. Then you are in a lose lose situation."

Fred Sirieix suggests that we take example on the public policy of Germany, where he says there is an apprenticeship system that works. 

Secondly, he says, the UK would benefit from having a hospitality minister. "We are huge industry we need a minister, somebody who is going to look after the industry, be there to represent the industry and the people who work in it; and who's gonna do it with respect and appreciation and and will be dedicated to its people."

He sends the message of caution: "Unless something is changed, in 20 to 30 years, we'll all be eating prepackaged meals and we'll be served by robots. That's unless you can afford the best restaurants where people will still be doing it the old fashioned way."

Written by Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox 

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Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 13th February 2019

Fred Sirieix: "The UK should have a hospitality minister"