Boutique hotel operators in the UK are failing to make use of government-funded apprenticeships, despite big-name chains cashing in on the plans.
UK National Apprenticeships Service chief executive Simon Waugh said apprentices could help fill vital roles in time for the Olympics, and that the scheme would guarantee staff with appropriate skills in place before hundreds of thousands of tourists converge on London in 2012.
Since the service was first set up in 2009, with the goal of promoting apprenticeships for 16 to 17-year olds using government subsidies and services for employers, it has seen interest from the enterprise sector but not from the smaller boutique hotels.
“Apprentices often turn out to be more productive and loyal, and companies such as City Inns have proved this, even launching its own academy for apprentices,” Waugh said. “But a lot of hotels still don’t realise the benefits this can bring, instead they will choose someone older with a bit of experience over an apprentice, despite apprentices often staying longer in a role and offering more experience as their training progresses.”
Waugh said that the £1bn in subsidies the UK Government puts forward each year for apprentice training in the hospitality and hotel industry alone could be used by boutique operators concerned with the cost of taking on an apprentice.
He said that now, more than ever, the boutique hotel industry had to think about staffing and its importance for the upcoming Olympics.
“Each of these operators will have a part to play in the success of the tourism industry following 2012,” Waugh added. “The experience guests have will be the difference between making England a place for tourists to stop off en route to other destinations such as France, or as a tourist destination in its own right.”
If you are interested in finding out more about hiring apprentices, visit apprenticeships.org.uk.
by Penny Jones