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Local businesses come together for the Big Hospitality Conversation at Heathrow

The Big Hospitality Conversation at The Renaissance Hotel, Heathrow, March 17th 2014

The British Hospitality Association, Springboard and Business in the Community are set to galvanise the hospitality and tourism industry in and around Heathrow to invest in local young people with the latest ‘Big Hospitality Conversation’.

Part of a nationwide campaign, the event will bring together influential leaders from leading hospitality businesses in and around Heathrow including London Heathrow airport, and invite them to meet local young people, stimulating dialogue and encouraging more quality work experience, apprenticeships and jobs in the UK for 16-24 year olds.  As well as generating work and opportunities in the local area, the Big Conversation enables the industry, through the BHA, to take a powerful message to government on hospitality’s significant contribution to economic recovery across the UK, tackling youth unemployment and stimulating growth.   

The Big Conversation Event comes hot on the heels of Apprentice Week in which London Mayor Boris Johnson formed a united front with the British Hospitality Association and Whitbread Hotels to announce the pledge of 7,000 new apprenticeships.  

Meanwhile, Barclays has partnered with the BHA to support the industry body’s goal of creating 60,000 new jobs in the sector by 2015.  

Mike Thompson, Head of Early Careers at Barclays said “Our own apprenticeship scheme has been a real success and it is great to work with the BHA to encourage more young people to take the opportunity to build a fantastic career. Barclays has taken on 1,000 apprentices since the launch of its apprentice programme in April 2012. It has been designed to help people with no prior experience or qualifications into work. Barclays is committed to doubling the number of apprentices to 2,000, and will continue to focus on specifically targeting young people aged 16-24 not in education, employment or training (NEET).”  

British Hospitality Association CEO Ufi Ibrahim said:  “The Big Conversation gives local industry leaders and young people the opportunity to meet, face to face.  It gives young people a voice and is a powerful way for businesses to understand and respond to the challenges.  More than just a talking forum, the Big Conversation leads to real opportunities, apprenticeships and work placements which in turn help to stimulate economic growth.  As well as providing immediate job and apprenticeship opportunities for young people, the Big Hospitality Conversation is sowing the seeds for the future of our industry by nurturing young talent.”   

In the past twelve months over 1,200 industry representatives have attended the Big Hospitality Conversation events, pledging the creation of 33,000 new job opportunities between now and 2015 (with more to come).  Led by the British Hospitality Association and supported by the Business in the Community (BiTC) – one of the Prince of Wales’s charities, aimed at promoting Talent & Skills leadership across sectors in the UK and The Springboard Charity who actively work with the industry to support the young, unemployed and disadvantaged into opportunities and work within the industry and is the main organization that is helping employers convert the pledges they make into action  – The Big Conversation initiative will be hosted by BHA partners Springboard and Barclays.   

Anne Pierce, Springboard, CEO, commented: ‘’We are delighted to be part of the Big Conversation and work with both employers and young people to promote the fantastic Hospitality industry and help convert pledges into real opportunities. Whether this is through offering young people quality work experience through our INSPIRE work experience programme, training or job opportunities, all of which develop and nurtures talent for the future of the industry.

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