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Michelin starred chefs move into City Hall for the day to dish out careers inspiration for young Londoners

Celebrity chefs Mark Sargeant, Gary Lee, Adam Byatt and Phil Howard will join over 200 hospitality industry chiefs and over 500 young job seekers at London’s City Hall on Monday 21st September 2015 to promote hospitality as a career option for young people. The occasion is the British Hospitality Association’s annual Big Hospitality Conversation supported by Boris Johnson, Mayor of London. In a clear signal of London’s commitment to supporting the hospitality industry, which is so vital for the capital, this is the second time the Big Hospitality Conversation is being hosted at the UK landmark.

Event organisers are hoping to beat last year’s successful event which attracted over 100 hospitality business and 500 job seekers and resulted in over 900 on-the-spot-jobs. This year’s event has attracted household names including The Ivy, Rhubarb, Rocksalt, 1 Lombard Street, BaxterStorey, Benugo, Carluccio's, Ceviche, Wagamama, Compass Group, D&D London, Ed’s Easy Diner, Elior, Five Guys, Galvin Restaurants, Gaucho Restaurants, House of St Barnabas, KERB, Le Pain Quotidien, Neds Noodle Bar, One Kensinton Gardens, Searcys, Shepherd's Restaurant, The Burger Bar at Harrods, The Roof Gardens, Trinity Restaurant Clapham, Vacherin Ltd, Whitbread Restaurants, WSH, and YO! Sushi and many others.

The event at City Hall on 21 September will bring together London’s leading restaurateurs to inspire young job seekers and to inform them of the wide range of careers available in the industry. The event will include a careers fair where BHA members will be offering real career starts to job seekers on the day.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, said: ‘’I am pleased to be supporting the BHA’s Big Hospitality Conversation event which promotes hospitality as a career option for young people. If you are looking to take your first steps onto the career ladder an apprenticeship could be just the thing for you.  For young people it’s a great way to get employment experience under your belt whilst picking up a salary and for employers it’s a great way to attract fresh new talent and ideas into your business. More than 40,000 people now start an apprenticeship every year in London - more than double the number starting five years ago.”

Ufi Ibrahim, CEO of the British Hospitality Association said:  “Hospitality is a successful industry with even greater growth prospects offering a vast range of career opportunities. The breadth of 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. At the City Hall event businesses will be offering on the spot career opportunities including apprenticeships and quality work experiences, so a young job seeker could start the day unemployed and leave with a job.  Where, in any other industry, would that happen?”

Mark Sargeant, owner of the Rocksalt Folkestone said: “I'm so proud to have been invited to talk about my career at City Hall and hopefully inspire lots of young people to become involved in my glorious industry.”

Gary Lee, Executive Chef, The Ivy & The Private Room At The Ivy said: “I have long championed young people coming into the hospitality industry and have taken on apprentices, been into schools to give motivational talks and spoken to them at cooking demos.  They are our future and must be nurtured and encouraged.  At The Ivy, and our sister restaurants in Caprice Holdings, we run an apprentice scheme, which has proved very successful. The Big Conversation, hosted by the British Hospitality Association, is the perfect platform to engage with the chefs of tomorrow.”

Adam Byatt, Chef Patron Trinity and Bistro Union said: “I am delighted to be attending the Big Conversation event. As industry leaders we have a responsibility to invest time, knowledge and recourses into our future generation. I’m looking forward to showcasing what an incredibly rewarding industry this can be for young people from a multitude of backgrounds.”

Why is this event important?
·          Hospitality and tourism now accounts for over 10% of the UK’s workforce and is the 4th largest employing industry in the UK, its growth significantly outpacing the rest of the economy
·          There is a severe shortage of talent and the industry is reaching out to Londoners to find out more about careers in hospitality
·          Youth unemployment is one of the biggest challenges facing young people today and the hospitality industry has the proven power to help tackle this What is the Big Hospitality Conversation?

The Big Hospitality Conversation offers a commitment to creating career opportunities, including apprenticeships and work placements for young people aged 16-24.

The British Hospitality Association has, over the last two years, run a nationwide campaign – The Big Hospitality Conversation – linking the young unemployed with business. Working with BHA partners – the Department for Work & Pensions, the National Apprenticeship Service, Believe in Young People and Springboard – we have been encouraging our member companies to pledge employment opportunities for young people. It’s a massive job creation drive and we are well on track to deliver, by 2016, 60,000 work placements, jobs and apprenticeships for Britain’s young people. To date over 2,500 businesses including famous restaurants, international hotel groups and the best tourist attractions have pledged their support. Together it’s created 43,300 apprenticeships, jobs and work experiences for 16-24 year olds across the UK.

The aim is for the hospitality industry to create up to 60,000 jobs by 2020. It’s a joint initiative between the British Hospitality Association, Springboard, Believe in Young People, Business in the Community, People First, and the DWP. 

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