Westminster City Council have appointed recruitment specialist Step Ahead and high street vitality agency Attis Towns, supported by Westminster BIDs, to deliver a two-year programme to help hospitality and leisure businesses in Westminster fill their job vacancies.
Nationally there were 178,000 vacancies in the accommodation and food industries in March 2022 – the highest number since statistics started being recorded in 2001. With over 3,000 businesses in hospitality and 4,400 in leisure, there is a greater concentration of hospitality and leisure businesses in the city of Westminster than anywhere else in the UK, yet many are unable to fully open due to staff shortages.
In the Marble Arch district alone we have 22,000 hotel rooms within a ten minute walk of Edgware Road generating over a million annual tourist visits. Our night time economy bustles with late night restaurants, cafes and casinos. 20% of Westminster’s night time economy workforce is employed in and around the Edgware Road area, a hive of hospitality activity.
The new free Hospitality and Leisure Recruitment Programme, which runs until 31 March 2024, aims to create a Westminster Hospitality and Leisure Career Package, engage at least 400 businesses and fill 2,200 vacancies.
The programme will work with employers to understand their needs for skills, including seasonal requirements. It will also explore what motivates people to work in hospitality and leisure, what the barriers are that prevent some from doing so, and how Westminster businesses can make working in the hospitality and leisure sector a desirable career for a wider range of people, particularly those not already in the employment pool. The focus will then be on ensuring that job seekers are matched to employers to create long term, sustainable relationships.
The Hospitality and Leisure Recruitment Programme is funded by a £1 million grant from Westminster City Council which comes from the Government’s (BEIS) Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG), a fund set up to support businesses worst hit by COVID-19.
The new free career package will be launched in mid-July with a dedicated website, social media presence and PR to promote it to businesses and potential employees.
If you’re a hospitality or leisure business in Westminster, you can register your interest to be part of this exciting initiative.
UK Hospitality has been working at pace to turbo charge the sector’s training with new ways of working and driving up employment standards. But pubs, restaurants and hotels were finding it difficult to hire staff before COVID-19 and the pandemic has made things even worse. If businesses are going to make a strong recovery we need to find innovative ways of encouraging people to take-up a career in hospitality. This fresh approach to hospitality and leisure recruitment provides a great opportunity to test new ideas and ensure that businesses in Westminster can recruit the staff they need, particularly as international travel starts to return.
Chief Executive of UK Hospitality, Kate Nicholls