New initiative to tackle skills gap in hospitality industry launches

D&D London will launch My Hospitality World, which it describes as a “pioneering two-week group-wide initiative encouraging young adults into hospitality” on 25 February.

It hopes to inspire young people to view hospitality as an “aspirational career path by offering a series of open-door events across their restaurants”.

“Given the current uncertain political climate in the UK, it’s crucial to our future that we have plenty of young talent eager to come into hospitality,” said D&D London chairman and chief executive Des Gunewardena.

“Working in restaurants is viewed by many people as not being an occupation to aspire to and we want to change that. Working in restaurants can be highly rewarding and provide a lifelong career – we’re hoping to demonstrate that with My Hospitality World.”

The “eclectic and interactive programme of activities” will include a Flambé Masterclass, an Apprenticeship Taster evening and a dedicated event in support of International Women’s Day (8 March), to “inspire more young women to become professional chefs”.

There will also be a full restaurant takeover of D&D London’s Blueprint Café by students from London South East College who will work alongside head chef Joseph Albina. Students will design, cook and serve a ticketed three-course lunch to the public to get a “real appreciation of the hard work and preparation that goes into a restaurant service”.

Carol Cairnes, head of talent for D&D London said it is “important we invest time in young men and women as these are the largest pool of talent for us. A career in hospitality is not confined to front of house or kitchen staff – our industry provides opportunities in a wide range of roles including project management, finance, marketing and events, HR and maintenance. We hope My Hospitality World will raise awareness of and inspire lots more young adults to join our great industry.”

D&D London has developed a schedule of tailored work experience for year 10 and 12 pupils in association with charity Inspire. Over the past three years it has placed over 200 young people into their kitchens on work experience, many of whom went on to pursue a career in the hospitality industry.

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