A leader in the hotel industry yesterday criticised the Government for not working more closely with the sector on a plan to create 3,000 jobs.
Little or no progress has been made on a jobs training plan put forward last year by the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF), delegates at the IHF’s annual conference, in Killarney, Co Kerry, were told.
The aim is to provide up to 3,000 people with entry-level employment in the sector each year.
But with 64% of hoteliers experiencing difficulty recruiting suitably qualified craft/entry level staff, IHF president Michael Vaughan expressed his frustration at the “lack of engagement” by Government on an initiative aligned closely with its national job creation strategy.
“Our proposal would help stem the issue of long-term unemployment and provide young people, in particular, with possibly their first work experience and a valuable stepping stone in their careers.
“This would have an enormous impact, particularly in rural areas where fewer employment opportunities exist.”
Mr Vaughan said the lack of trained staff was a direct result of Fáilte Ireland’s decision to stop providing this type of hospitality craft training (FETAC levels 3 and 4).
The obvious solution, he maintained, would be for the Government to work with the sector and instruct the new further education and training authority, Solas, and local employment training boards to provide training courses to ensure a sustainable supply of trained workers to fill entry-level positions.
Mr Vaughan said: “It’s a year on since we proposed our jobs training initiative but, unfortunately, nothing has been achieved since then.
“Meanwhile, tourism businesses such as hotels, guesthouses, restaurants, pubs and bars need to replace in excess of 3,000 craft-level workers each year due to natural attrition alone.
“Craft-level training offers a valuable conduit to employment for young adults looking for work in today’s difficult jobs market.
“It’s now time for Ministers Ruairi Quinn and Richard Bruton to address our concerns and put in place a programme to meet our sector’s future training requirements. It’s a wasted opportunity if we don’t act,” Mr Vaughan said.
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