DCMS blog

How the hospitality and tourism sector is changing young people’s lives

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Ufi Ibrahim

Chairman of the Tourism Alliance and Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association

Ufi Ibrahim, the CEO of the British Hospitality Association blogs on careers in the hospitality sector for young people following a discussion at the House of St Barnabas in Soho with Tourism Minister Helen Grant and industry leaders.

There is no doubt that data is key to tracking the success of any initiative. The greater the numbers, the easier it is to focus attention on the ‘accounting’ of success. And certainly, some numbers deserve all the glory. Take the fact that the Hospitality & Tourism industry accounted for one third of all new jobs created between 2010 and 2012. Or take the results of the Big Hospitality Conversation so far, which in the last 18 months, has generated over 36,000 new opportunities for 16 to 24 year olds across the UK. And while it will be initiatives like the Big Hospitality Conversation, that tackle youth unemployment in Britain, the truth remains that the numbers alone do not tell the whole story.
Yesterday, Tourism Minister Helen Grant and a group of business leaders – some of the stewards of the Big Hospitality Conversation – cut through the numbers to turn the spotlight on to the impact of this initiative on the lives of the young people involved.
The setting for this gathering was at the House of St Barnabas – a members’ club in Soho that works with Benugos (Baxter Storey), to support London’s Homeless people back into work through its employment academy. I doubt there could be a more befitting venue to showcase the ethos of businesses in the Hospitality industry, who have taken the honorable craft of serving others – to a whole new level.
And let’s be absolutely frank, the success of Hospitality and Tourism businesses relies on their ability to serve others. As Bill Marriott once said, we must serve our people, who will in turn serve others. And today, the spotlight turns on the way in which the Big Hospitality Conversation has been changing young people’s lives, one apprenticeship, one job or one work experience at a time, and thereby transforming local communities, the national economy and the UK – as a nation.

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