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Heathrow hospitality and restaurant businesses create over 1000 job opportunities for local young people

Hospitality and restaurant businesses from the Heathrow area have joined forces to pledge 1,066 new job opportunities for young people by 2015.  The pledges were made at the British Hospitality Association’s Big Hospitality Conversation held at The Renaissance Hotel, Heathrow, March 17th 2014.
The job opportunities pledged include 316 jobs, 325 apprenticeships and 425 paid work experience opportunities which will help to reduce youth unemployment amongst 16-24 year olds in the area.  Top hospitality businesses made the pledges, including Arora Hotels, Millenium & Copthorne Hotels, Premier Inn, Marriott and Bartlett Mitchell.

Led by the BHA in partnership with Springboard, Business in the Community (BiTC) and Barclays, the Big Hospitality Conversation is the BHA’s biggest ever jobs drive, designed to help tackle youth unemployment as well as embracing a common approach to work placements, internships and apprenticeships.  Speakers at the Heathrow event included Surinder Arora, Chief Executive of Arora Hotels, John Forrest, Chief Operating Officer of Premier Inn, Paul Davies, General Manager of Heathrow Windsor Marriott Hotel and Anna Dowling, General Manager of Sofitel London Heathrow.  Local MP John McDonnell, who attended the networking session said:  “I was extremely impressed by the very concrete achievements of this event in promoting apprentice opportunities.”  

Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Industry, said:  “We are delighted with the 1066 pledges for the Heathrow area.  This demonstrates local businesses working collaboratively to offer new opportunities for young people and this is a fantastic boost to tackling youth unemployment figures in the local community.  Research shows that the hospitality industry has the potential to generate over 200,000 jobs by 2015 which is half of the government’s Youth Contract target for the next three years.  The pledges received at the Heathrow Big Hospitality Conversation are a positive step.”  

Simon Robertson, Area Business Manager for Barclays, who have partnered with the BHA to support the industry body’s goal of creating 60,000 new jobs in the sector by 2015, 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).”

Anne Pierce MBE, CEO Springboard said: “Pledges like those generated in Heathrow are leaving a legacy for job creation and growth for the UK hospitality industry.  The Big Hospitality Conversation is a great way to bring together industry leaders and young people to create a meaningful dialogue resulting in many unemployed and disadvantaged young people gaining vital work experience, apprenticeship and employment opportunities.”

Big Hospitality Conversation events targeting the hospitality and restaurant industry will be held across the UK throughout 2014:
·         25th March in Wandsworth, London
·         2nd April in Bournemouth
·         29th April at Hotelympia in London
·         12th May in Manchester
·         20th May in Glasgow

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