The hospitality sector accounts for approximately 4% of GDP across the UK, employing a total of more than 1.6 million people.
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In Cardiff alone, it is estimated that there are more than 700 hospitality businesses and the sector is set to enjoy continued expansion as new facilities such as the proposed £700m International Sports Village in Cardiff Bay are completed – complementing other recent high profile developments such as the Millennium Stadium, existing Cardiff Bay regeneration and the Millennium Centre.
However, the industry suffers from both skills and labour shortages, partially as a result of perceptions of long and unsocial hours, poor working conditions and low pay. For example, Of the 3,800 waiters and waitresses working in the south east Wales region, almost 75% were engaged on a part-time basis, with an average wage of just £80 per week.
Identified skills shortages are mainly for skilled chefs and hotel / restaurant managers, whereas labour shortages are more likely to be apparent for waiters / waitresses and kitchen assistants.
Enrolments on school and college catering courses have been steadily falling over a prolonged period, latterly in favour of new disciplines such as sports science.
Employers state a preference for training in the workplace and are reluctant to release staff for off-site training, beyond basic health and safety / food hygiene training, which is a quasi-legal requirement.
Cardiff CCET has identified Catering and Hospitality as a key sector for development and wishes to improve learning provision for the industry, especially with respect to FE provision in the City.