Businesses are struggling to recruit skilled chefs, with nearly half of all vacancies proving difficult to fill.

VisitEngland is highlighting the skills shortage amongst chefs during English Tourism Week (14-22 March) to encourage young people to consider cooking as a career.

Figures from the Employer Skills Survey, produced by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), reveal that 1 in 5 vacancies in the hotel and restaurant sector are skilled jobs, with 47% of vacancies for chefs difficult to recruit for. 

Chef shortages are particularly prevalent in London (66%) and in the South East (46%). Skilled kitchen jobs make up 21% of all skill shortage vacancies for skilled trades.  

There is concern that with forecasts showing growth in English tourism – from a value of £106b with 2.6 million jobs today, to over £216b by 2025, when it could provide one in every 10 jobs – that the skills shortage will prove to be a major threat to the industry’s expansion.

James Berresford, chief executive of VisitEngland said that England’s growing foodie reputation relies heavily on skilled chefs delivering quality. “We need to ensure there is enough being done at grass roots level to inspire young chefs to enter the industry and fill the skills gap, if we are to meet visitor demand.”

Simon Vincent, president, EMEA, Hilton Worldwide, added that with the company’s food and beverage teams served over 9.7 million customers in England last year, it is crucial to attract the best talent into kitchens if visitors are going to experience the very best this country has to offer.  

“In my role as co-industry chair of the UK Tourism Council we’re committed to working with government in addressing the shortage of trained chefs, and are leading a hospitality working group in launching new apprenticeship standards for chefs, preparing the next generation of leaders to carry the flag for English cuisine.”

The Department of Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) is running a week-long social media campaign as part of English Tourism Week, highlighting career paths and opportunities across the industry. Follow #tourismcareers or #mytourismjob on Twitter for further information.

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Published by: The Caterer