Britain’s hospitality sector needs to invest in young, quality talent if it wants to maintain its culinary reputation says award-winning restaurant.
Opus at Cornwall Street – the Midlands most sustainable restaurant – has teamed up with a Birmingham university in a bid to develop aspiring front of house students and close the ever-growing skills gap in the hospitality industry.
Following news from CBI* that 69% of employers are concerned with the skills gap – up from 55% last year – the 2AA Rosette independent restaurant is helping to tackle the problem by introducing its first-ever scholarship programme tailor made for University College Birmingham (UCB) hospitality students.
Opus will be enhancing the undergraduates’ academic skills by providing relevant paid work experience across all three of its Birmingham-based venues and in all areas of its business, including front of house, kitchen and corporate bookings.
Successful applicants will be chosen following a rigorous video and interview process and will complete a 40 week programme alongside their studies. They will also have the opportunity to be awarded a graduation bonus.
Irene Allan, director at Opus at Cornwall Street, said: “Britain’s food and drink scene is thriving which is fantastic news for our economy and reputation. However, if we want to uphold this status, we need to be investing in the right kind of people to develop the right kind of skills to keep this industry booming.
“Young people are crucial in hospitality – their enthusiasm, fresh perspectives and knowledge on upcoming trends are invaluable – and we must give them opportunities at entry level. Following the recent Brexit vote – with the possibility that EU migrants could face restrictions with work – now, more than ever, we need to be inspiring young people to look towards fulfilling careers in hospitality. The sector is crying out for talented, young staff and it is our responsibility, as employers, to develop their skills and make them see it as a career and not just a pit-stop job. That’s why we are very excited by this scholarship programme to help nurture young students and their skills.”
UCB employability manager Katie Bytheway, who will be overseeing Opus’ scholarship programme, said: “It is important that students have the practical skills to make them appealing to an employer. That’s where a scholarship such as Opus’ is invaluable. It will offer students the chance to back up their academic knowledge with practical experience.”
Katie added: “Scholarships and work placements aren’t just beneficial to students, they are a fantastic opportunity for employers too. It’s a chance to meet and support upcoming talent, who could end up becoming an instrumental member to their team.”
For more information on Opus’ scholarship programme click here