Ireland’s hospitality sector faces a shortage of trained craft and entry-level workers following the axing of Fáilte Ireland’s training programme, the newly elected President of the Irish Hotels Federation, Michael Vaughan, said.
“We’re facing a skills gap for businesses looking to attract people with the right training. For example, smaller hotels wouldn’t have the facilities to train someone who has no experience working in a busy kitchen,” said Mr Vaughan who was speaking at the Irish Hoteliers Conference in Kilkenny.
As part of a national action plan for hospitality craft-training, he urged the Government to mandate SOLAS to work with the sector to ensure a sustainable supply of trained workers to fill entry level positions.
Fáilte Ireland’s exit from craft training (FETAC levels 3 & 4) comes at a time when the Government has committed to supporting the creation of 15,000 additional tourism jobs by 2015, on top of the 180,000 people already employed in the sector.
Meanwhile, hospitality 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.
“Tourism won’t have a healthy future unless we make the right training available for workers starting out in the industry. No one is providing this at the moment and hoteliers are already starting to feel the strain,” said Mr Vaughan.
He called on the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn and Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, to provide clarity on how future training requirements for the sector will be met.
“Tourism has enormous potential for job creation, with craft level training offering a valuable conduit to employment for young adults. For many young people, the tourism and hospitality industry is a valuable stepping stone in their careers,” said Mr Vaughan.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved