With the catering industry already struggling to recruit and retain staff in the UK, the news that the new T level qualification has been delayed has provoked much consternation amongst leading figures in the catering industry. With Brexit looming there may be a staff shortage that cannot be filled by British workers.
The T qualification in hospitality and catering was designed to address the skills gap in the UK and encourage young people aged 16-19 into the industry. The hope was that if the qualification was ready on time more school leavers would be encouraged to work in the industry, and that when freedom of movement potentially impacts the supply of workers, the UK’s young people would be ready to plug the gap. The qualification will now not be available until 2022 which is too late.
The lack of a suitable qualification has meant that young people have not been attracted to the industry in the past. The British Hospitality Association had put together a 10-year plan to address this. They have reported that 60,000 staff are needed each year to develop the sector and that an additional 200,000 will be needed to address staff turnover. As it stands, they will not be able to recruit solely from the UK.
The effect of the shortage
The shortage will be felt in all areas of the catering industry. As it is an industry that doesn’t lend itself to automation people are its main asset. They may be from anywhere in the supply chain including refrigeration suppliers such as https://www.fridgefreezerdirect.co.uk/serve-over-counters, as well as food suppliers. Serving counter staff will be difficult to recruit and food prices are already increasing because of Brexit fears.
With jobs at risk and fears that the companies would have to contract out, this will have an impact on the UK’s economic growth. Jobs may be lost if this happens. The qualification was meant to be introduced to train young people from 2019, pre-Brexit. Leading figures have called for the government ministers for immigration and education to consider the impact of this delay on the catering industry and on employment in general. They are calling on the government to commit to a plan, as they have done, and to consider the shortfall and potential lack of growth.