From skills shortage to skills crisis: 97% of young Britons don't consider hospitality as a career option

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

Most of the UK's children and teenagers don't think they will pursue a career in hospitality, according to new research published by jobs website

In a survey of 2,000 schoolchildren, recent graduates and parents across the UK, 97% of respondents reported having written off hospitality as a career option.

Given the situation, this isn't much of a surprise: almost nine out of ten secondary students who took part in the study said they weren't given any information regarding a career in hospitality at school, and 30 percent of students said they don't have access to any food related subject at school at all.

All food-related A-Levels were scrapped in 2015, with policymakers at the time saying that sufficient vocational pathways existed to meet the industry's needs.

Another aspect of the problem is that young people view hospitality work as a temporary solution - such as part-time work during their studies - offering little in the way of career progression. 

Where do we go from here?

To put things into perspective, last month the website reported having advertised 28,000 new hospitality roles, a number which has grown 36 percent in the past two years. If this trend continues, it is likely that the industry will find itself in dire straits.

The jobs site, together with celebrity chef Tom Aikens, hospitality trade association UKHospitality, education charity Springboard and The Food Teachers' Centre are calling for schools to encourage more young people to join the industry. 

The Two Michelin-starred chef said that despite being an exciting, vivacious industry, he is finding it increasingly hard to recruit the skilled workforce he needs. 

"At my restaurants I am constantly looking for the next stars in the industry and struggling to find the skillset we need due to the drop of new talent emerging from the education system – despite the work done by the industry to attract entry level talent," he said. 

“It’s a career that offers such diversity: from floor to sous chef, from logistical prowess to creative ambition. My own career has taken me from working with incredible luminaries like Pierre Koffman, Richard Neat and Joel Robuchon; all the way to be the owner of my first restaurant. What other industry can offer you such mentorship followed by such opportunity?”

At The Staff Canteen, tackling the skills shortage in hospitality is a cause we care about too. Last year, we launched our TSC Live College Tour events, leveraging our knowledge of the industry and the community of chefs and hospitality workers that we work with to inspire the country's young minds and showcase hospitality as the fantastic sector it is. 

Read about our previous tours and watch the video round-ups of when we went to University College Birmingham, Bournemouth and Poole College and Westminster Kingsway College; and stay tuned to find out which chefs will be joining us at Farnborough College for our next TSCLive College Tour on June 18th. 

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Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 20th May 2019

From skills shortage to skills crisis: 97% of young Britons don't consider hospitality as a career option