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Hosting the Big Hospitality Conversation at the start of National Apprenticeship Week (9th-15th March), Accor - the world’s leading hotel operator and market leader in Europe - pledged to double the number of its UK apprentices, bringing the total to 300 by the end of 2016.
Run in conjunction with the British Hospitality Association, the event hoped to bring young people, Accor apprentices and Accor business leaders together to have a unique conversation about the hospitality sector and apprenticeships.
The Conversation was part of an Apprentice Day at Accor’s state-of-the-art London training Académie which aims to inspire young people to begin a career within the hospitality industry and encourage them to consider an apprenticeship as the route into the sector.
Speaking at the event Thomas Dubaere, Managing Director, Accor UK & Ireland said, “We believe in the value of apprenticeships, which is why we are committed to growing the number that we have in the UK.
“One of the biggest challenges we face in the UK is that young people aren’t always aware of what careers are available to them and there is a myth that apprenticeships are not a viable route into a career. I believe that apprenticeships are vital as they offer young people an alternative to further education, allowing them to earn whilst they learn and helping them to reach their career goals. Through our conversations today, we hope to educate and share experiences between some potential apprentices and our current apprentices.”
Accor has provided apprenticeships in the UK via the Management Apprenticeship Programme (MAP) for the past ten years. During that time, over 500 apprentices have completed their training. Since 2012, Accor has invested over £2.5 million in training and development in the UK, and in addition to the 150 apprentices currently employed; the group offers 300 work placements every year.
Supported by a range of businesses, National Apprenticeship Week is a government-backed event aimed at promoting apprenticeships to young people. It encourages employers to offer an increased number of apprenticeship opportunities and provide greater access to decent and secure jobs to the working age population. The statistics here demonstrate the full impact of the week:
By the close of 2014, 740,000 young people in the UK were out of work.
Hotels are ideally placed to provide effective solutions to pervasive issues like youth unemployment, and create a lasting impact on the people they engage with. Working with programmes like ITP’s Youth Career Initiative, hotels around the world can partner with local NGOs to identify disadvantaged young people and offer them real-world employment training and mentoring.
As Business in the Community put forward an argument for a new contract between business and society, the need for employers to invest in current and future talent to encourage sustainable economic growth continues.