Department for Culture, Media and Sport
Printable version

Inspiring the next generation of hospitality leaders

Tourism Minister: “hospitality apprenticeships is a win win situation for both young people and business” 

Minister for Tourism, Helen Grant visited House of Saint Barnabus in Soho to highlight the contribution the hospitality sector is making to economic growth and how it is generating jobs and apprenticeships for young people.

The visit was arranged by the British Hospitality Association(BHA), at a venue that works with food outlet and restaurant group Benugos to help get London’s homeless people back into work through their employment academy. During the visit the Minister met apprentices working in the hospitality sector, before engaging with industry bosses to discuss the potential for further growth and the BHA’s Big Hospitality Conversation initiative.

The Big Hospitality Conversation is the industry’s flagship campaign to inspire the next generation through job creation, apprenticeships and work placements. It focuses on the thousands of young people who are looking for work, in partnership with Business in the Community, Springboard and leading hospitality businesses. So far it has hosted 10 events across the UK, generating 36,000 new job opportunities.

Those involved in the discussion included; Patrick Dempsey, Managing Director of Whitbread Hotels & Restaurants, Thomas Dubaere, Managing Director of Accor UK & Ireland and Ufi Ibrahim, the CEO at the British Hospitality Association.

Following the visit, Helen Grant commented:

Working in the tourism and hospitality sector can offer a rewarding, challenging and fulfilling career and the British Hospitality Association’s Big Conversation initiative is playing a part in highlighting the opportunities available to young people. The apprentices I have met at the House of Saint Barnabus have shown tremendous enthusiasm and it has been encouraging to hear the importance industry leaders are placing on this scheme making it a win win situation for both young people and those businesses involved.

Ufi Ibrahim, BHA chief executive officer said:

The Minister has shown that she understands the economic importance of hospitality and its special role in generating jobs for young people. Indeed, 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. This event has turned the spotlight on the way in a 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.

Thomas Dubaere, Managing Director, Accor UK and Ireland said:

We are keen to highlight the vast opportunities that hospitality has to offer young people in the UK. We have welcomed the chance to discuss this with the Minister and hope we have been able to show the real difference that hospitality can make to unemployment through apprenticeships, structured work placements and job creation.

Patrick Dempsey OBE, MD Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants said:

Hospitality is a vibrant growing industry with a lot to offer. At Premier Inn we are committed to getting young people into work and giving them the opportunities they deserve to develop their skills and build their careers. Premier Inn is a huge supporter of ‘The Big Hospitality Conversation’ and we’ve pledged to create 8,000 jobs, 2,000 apprenticeships and 4,500 work placements by 2018.

There is a huge pool of talent in the 16-24 age group and we are committed to helping raise awareness amongst the 1 million young people that are unemployed, not in education or training, offering significant opportunities for them to join and develop their careers within the hospitality industry. We will train young people, provide them with qualifications and long term prospects within a sustainable and thriving industry.

Further information

Ufi Ibrahim, the British Hospitality Association CEO, blogs about how the hospitality and tourism sector is changing young people’s lives

British Hospitality Association

Channel website:

Share this article

Latest News from
Department for Culture, Media and Sport