Tourism minister Helen Grant has acknowledged the importance of hospitality as a major recruiter at a recent Big Hospitality Conversation event to help drive awareness of hospitality as a career among young people.
Grant also met young apprentices at the event, which was held on Monday (28 April) at House of Saint Barnabus, a members club in Soho that works with Benugos to help London's homeless people get into work through generating jobs and apprenticeships.
She said: "Working in the tourism and hospitality sector can offer a rewarding, challenging and fulfilling career and the British Hospitality Association's Big Conversation initiative is playing a part in highlighting the opportunities available to young people."
Grant was given "a whistlestop day-in-the-life tour" of hospitality apprentices, before talking to industry bosses, including managing director of Whitbread Hotels & Restaurants Patrick Dempsey, managing director of Accor UK & Ireland Thomas Dubaere, Benugo's founder Ben Warner, and chief executive of the BHA Ufi Ibrahim.
"The minister has shown she understands the economic importance of hospitality and its particular strength in generating jobs for young people," said Ibrahim. "Our mission is to get more 16-24-year olds into work, to help them to get work-based qualifications and show school children the potential as hospitality as a career."
The Big Hospitality Conversation is the industry's flagship campaign to inspire the next generation through job creation, apprenticeships and work placements.
The BHA, along with Business in the Community, Springboard and leading hospitality businesses have so far generated 36,000 new job opportunities.