This week, South Lakes MP Tim Farron and Rachel Tyson, Head of Partnerships and Projects at Cumbria Tourism met with the Secretary of State for Education Gillian Keegan, to highlight the need to encourage people to work in the county’s vital hospitality sector.
In particular, the conversation focused on a long-awaited qualification which could be important in addressing the staffing crisis in the tourism industry.
The Catering T-Level had been due to roll out in September, but has now been delayed by the Government until "beyond 2024".
This is the second time the qualification, which had been expected to be a catering and hospitality T-level, has been delayed.
The latest findings from Cumbria Tourism found that 79% of businesses say recruitment of staff is a problem, while a lack of staff is limiting business capacity for almost 63% of businesses.
Back in March, Tim and Cumbria Tourism joined a range of organisations in hosting a successful Jobs and Careers Fair in Kendal, which saw more than 800 people attending the event to meet 60+ potential employers from a range of industries across the county.
Speaking after the meeting, Tim said: “I’m really grateful to the Secretary of State for listening to the challenges that businesses in Cumbria are facing when it comes to the recruitment and retention of staff.
“There needs to be a huge push from the Government to invest in skills and training. They also need to work with employers to help make hospitality and tourism an exciting long-term career plan for young people.”
Rachel Tyson, Head of Partnerships & Projects at Cumbria Tourism adds “With the Visitor Economy being such a key industry in Cumbria, it is vital that we can build the talent pipeline required so that businesses can thrive. Having the right qualifications is an essential part of building interest in careers within the sector.
“CT have recently created a Tourism Talent Hub to showcase the breadth of careers and opportunities available in the industry and the T Level in Hospitality would be a key route into careers in the Visitor Economy and a stepping stone onto higher level apprenticeships.
“We are grateful that Tim Farron MP managed to secure the meeting with the Secretary of State for Education and we will continue to feed into the conversations with the Department for Education. “