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Tom Aikens leads call for action as 97% of school pupils write off a hospitality career

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Tom Aikens leads call for action as 97% of school pupils write off a hospitality career

Industry leaders including chef Tom Aikens have called for hospitality skills to be put back on the school curriculum after it was revealed that 97% of pupils and recent leavers have written off a career in the industry.

Research by hospitality recruitment website found that 86% of secondary school students were in the dark about the career options hospitality offers with only 11% given advice on entering the industry. Almost half (48%) of 18- 24-year-olds said they saw hospitality jobs as temporary while 35% were not aware it could offer career progression.

Aikens said: “I know 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.

“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?”

Two fifths (44%) of primary and one in five (17%) secondary students are not able to access food related subjects. Despite the majority (82%) of primary students and two thirds (62%) of secondary pupils saying they would take up these subjects if they were available to them.

Neil Pattison, director of said: “The diminished food related subject offering in schools, parents’ misconceptions about the industry in terms of working hours and pay, and the gap in clear advice from careers advisors are deterring creative and ambitious young people from entering the industry. We need the government to enhance the way in which hospitality is delivered as a subject in schools to help support these ambitions and ensure the next great industry talents are not lost. Alongside this, employers in the industry themselves can take matters into their own hands by communicating the full reality of opportunity in the sector directly with young people, parents and teachers.”

Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality, added: “The industry is already working hard to attract entry level talent, but we need greater support from governments and schools to ensure career ambitions are nurtured and encouraged.”

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