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Scotland announces new job opportunity creation initiative for 16-24 year olds

Representatives from over 75 Scottish businesses will meet at Glasgow’s Marriott Hotel on October 22nd 2014 to pledge job opportunities, apprenticeships and work placements for young job seekers and the long term unemployed in The Big Hospitality Conversation.

Hospitality and tourism makes up some 15% of the Scottish workforce and estimates suggest that the industry is set to grow significantly in the next five years. 

William Macleod, Executive Director BHA Scotland said: “Tourism and hospitality are almost unique in their capacity to build international cultural understanding. What’s important now is that tourism is given every support to succeed, grow and compete internationally.

The sector has consistently demonstrated resilience, adaptability and innovation, especially over the last five years or so and is showing clear signs of recovery. This recovery can be sustained if the economic and political conditions are in place to support this. There are a number of British and international hospitality organisations that are investing in Scotland and others have declared their interest in doing the same.”

The Big Hospitality Conversation is a nationwide campaign and joint initiative between the British Hospitality Association, Springboard, Believe in Young People, Barclays, Business in the Community, People First, and the DWP. It offers a commitment to creating job opportunities for 16-24 year olds. 34,000 UK jobs have so far been created at events like the one at Glasgow Marriott and the aim is for the hospitality industry to create up to 60,000 jobs for young people by 2016.  

The initiative follows on from Alex Salmond’s September announcement of the launch of a new apprenticeship scheme in partnership with five hotel brands. Sponsored by alcoholic drinks company Diageo as part of its £5m Learning For Life Scotland programme, Salmond’s scheme will initially create 36 apprenticeships in three years, aiming to provide on-the-job training on all aspects of the modern luxury hotel industry. He describes it as a ‘human legacy...from major sporting events.’

Ufi Ibrahim, CEO of the BHA said: “Scotland has enjoyed great exposure to the international media in recent months, not just in the run-up to the Referendum but through coverage of the Commonwealth Games, the forthcoming Ryder Cup and the Year of Homecoming events. This is likely to stimulate heightened interest in visiting the country for leisure or business purposes. Now is the time to capitalize on this interest and use it as a base to encourage young people to join our industry. Hospitality is a successful industry with even greater growth prospects offering a vast range of job opportunities for all job seekers of any age. The breadth of job roles and the training available means that bright and focused young people can succeed very quickly. We welcome young people to come along to the event to hear from insiders about how they started out in their careers.”

Patrick Dempsey OBE, Chairman of the Big Hospitality Conversation and MD of Premier Inn said: "Hospitality is a vibrant, growing industry with a lot to offer. There is a huge pool of talent in the 16-24 age group and we are committed to helping raise awareness amongst young people that are unemployed, not in education or training, offering significant opportunities for them to join and develop their careers within the hospitality industry. We will train young people, provide them with qualifications and long term prospects within a sustainable and thriving industry.”

Mike Saul, Head of Hospitality & Leisure at Barclays, said:  “With recent Barclays research showing that domestic tourists will contribute over £13bn to the Scottish economy by 2017 and that foreign tourism spend is set to increase in Scotland by 40% over the same period, this initiative couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time.  One key sector that will benefit extensively from this rise in tourism is hospitality and as part of the Big Hospitality Conversation, we are working together to demonstrate to young job seekers that not only is this sector an exciting place to work but it is also full of opportunity and reward.”

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