Destination Coventry
Destination Coventry

First graduates of flagship training scheme celebrated

Paul Jones and a graduate of the Step into Hospitality scheme
Paul Jones and a graduate of the Step into Hospitality scheme

The first graduates of a scheme designed to help unemployed people launch careers in hospitality have hailed the programme a ‘confidence-boosting’ success.

A group of 29 adult learners have become the first to graduate from Step into Hospitality, a flagship pre-employment hospitality training scheme in partnership between Destination Coventry, Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and PET-Xi Training and supported by UKHospitality.

The programme aims to equip people with the essential skills required to work in the hospitality industry, with initial success leading to more availability being announced.

The next programme will run from November 6 until December 1 to fill employment and skills gaps across the sector, with learners receiving training in key subjects including customer service, food allergens, fire safety, food hygiene, first aid and teamwork, as well learning hands-on skills in areas such as barista, bar, front-of-house, kitchen and more.

Figures from UKHospitality show hospitality already employs 259,000 people in the West Midlands and the sector contributes £6.7 billion to the region’s economy.

Bridget Kaliati said: “It’s been a real eye opener for me. I used to be quite shy but now I’m more confident and outgoing and feel ready to put myself out there.

“The insights have been really useful and it’s been great to put some of my new skills into practice at interviews.”

Shaun Chambers said: “I was looking to change career after to moving to Coventry when I heard about this course – I liked the sound of hospitality as it requires you to get creative at times.

“It’s been really exciting to be given my first taste of the industry and all the advice along the way has been brilliant.”

Applicants to Step into Hospitality must be over the age of 19, unemployed and living in Coventry, with the programme also being one of the first initiatives of its type to directly support over 50s into employment in hospitality.

Every learner that completes the programme is guaranteed an interview for a live vacancy with a range of high-profile hospitality businesses across Coventry.

Craig Guest, Coventry Job Centre Employer Advisor Manager, said: “It’s been great to see some key organisations in our region coming together to tackle the ongoing recruitment issues in the hospitality industry while helping so many individuals get a foothold on the career ladder.

“The programme has worked really well and it’s been great to such encouraging early results.”

Emma Herron, in-house recruiter at Coventry Building Society Arena, said: “We have been able to offer seven graduates of the Step Into Hospitality programme seasonal roles at the arena. The programme is a really positive addition to the region, and has been very useful for us as a large hospitality employer.”

Shawana Asim at PET-Xi said: “It’s been fantastic to see our first cohorts develop during their time with us. Their progress has been amazing and all have overcome individual challenges to now provide a great prospect for potential employers.”

Paul Jones, Managing Director at Destination Coventry, added: “The region is home to a huge amount of top-quality hospitality organisations, so to have a scheme which enables people to re-enter employment with the skills and confidence to succeed on a personal level, all while providing a much-needed boost to the workforce, is brilliant to see.”

For more information please contact or 02475 311814.