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13/03/14 09:19

New generation boosts Tourism Week

Young employees take centre stage to showcase hospitality skills.

A new generation of skilled staff are helping the country’s top hotels prepare for Scotland’s year in the international spotlight.

According to industry umbrella body Hospitality Industry Trust (HIT) Scotland, the industry employs a workforce of 215,000 and is growing at four per cent per annum.

HIT points to increased professional development opportunities and better induction training that is raising skill levels and offering rewarding lifelong career opportunities.

Through the Commonwealth Games strand of the Employer Recruitment Incentive, Skills Development Scotland has supported 374 starts in the first three quarters of the financial year. Through the Scotland’s Best employability programme, over 500 young people have so far been supported by to take up opportunities:

Finance Secretary John Swinney joined hospitality industry leaders to commend the young employees set to play a key role in welcoming visitors to the Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup and Year of Homecoming at some of our top destinations.

Mr Swinney said:

“Scotland’s tourism industry continues to flourish and this year there are even more reasons to visit with the Commonwealth Games, the second Year of Homecoming and the Ryder Cup taking place on our shores.

“Such a special year has created unparalleled opportunities for young employees coming through to join an exciting sector as it is cements its place on the world stage.

“We know that our unique landscape and heritage attracts millions of people every year, but we have to underpin that with talented, enthusiastic and skilled staff, both in the front of house and behind the scenes of our renowned tourism sector.”

Youth Employment Minister Angela Constance also marked Tourism Week by meeting staff at the five-star Cameron House Hotel today. Young employees working in the 132-bedroom mansion house’s four restaurants – including the Michelin-starred Martin Wishart on Loch Lomond – as part of the front of house staff at the hotel and spa and grounds keeping on the Championship golf course.

Ms Constance said:

“Our tourism industry is vital to our economy and one of our biggest employers and this week has seen Tourism Week coincide with Make Young People Your Business Week in a very fitting combination.

“Our education sector and our businesses share a role in nurturing the new staff that will be the Michelin-starred chefs and hoteliers of the year of the future, and I would like to congratulate all of those taking their first steps in the industry and commend those who are helping them in their careers.”

David Cochrane is Chief Executive of the Hospitality Industry Trust (HIT) Scotland, which helps people access scholarships in the sector. He said:

“The industry has done a lot of work to improve the way it attracts, retains and trains good staff. This year in particular, we have the world’s focus on Scotland and we need the professional and skilled workforce to deliver excellent service and continue to impress our customers.

“The industry employs a workforce of 215,000 and is growing at four per cent. Good professional development really means that the sector can be an interesting and incredibly rewarding lifelong career with fantastic opportunities.”

“This year we awarded 152 HIT Scotland scholarships, more than ever before, and the demand for these was exceptional, with four applications to every scholarship available. The calibre of the candidates was very impressive.

“Better induction training across the board has raised skill levels but it is also important that we train those in management to encourage and inspire their staff to have ambitions for their career and strive to improve and meet the ever-changing demands of the industry.”

Jackie Gates, Director of Human Resources, Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh, said:

“The Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa is committed to attracting and nurturing young talent to ensure that we are developing the future leaders of the hospitality industry.

“We work closely with key stakeholders in the city, and beyond, including local schools, colleges, international hotel schools and universities to highlight the exciting opportunities on offer and inspire young people to consider a career in hospitality.”

Yesterday, Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing announced that a conference bid fund has helped to secure conferences with an expected spend by attendees of more than £100 million, to Scotland.