A leading training provider has launched a ground-breaking mission to help hospitality businesses to attract and retain talented employees.

HIT Training is calling on big businesses in the hospitality sector to pledge to fund at least one apprenticeship outside of their company.

The campaign – named ‘Don’t Waste: The Future of Hospitality’ –  aims to bring the industry together to champion the varied career opportunities available and implement practical solutions to lessen the skills shortage.

New research reveals that 65% of Apprenticeship Levy-paying hospitality businesses are currently unaware they can transfer 25% of their funds to SMEs or charities in the sector.

With £1.28billion of unspent Levy funding in the UK and less than half of hospitality businesses which have used their Apprenticeship Levy, there’s an untapped opportunity to use this capital to tackle the skills shortage and protect the future of the sector.

The initiative is already gaining traction in the sector with a number of sector-leading companies signed up to the pledge and to support the campaign, including UKHospitality, the Institute of Hospitality (IoH) and The Springboard Charity

To assist Levy-paying businesses, HIT Training has created a pledge portal where companies can commit their support to transfer a percentage of their Levy fund or download more information on how the Levy transfer process works.

The team at HIT Training can also help form a partnership with an SME and oversee the process of taking both parties through the Levy transfer process, if required.

Speaking about the campaign, Jill Whittaker, managing director of HIT Training, said: “Hospitality is one of the most vibrant and exciting sectors to work in, yet we continue to face multiple challenges when it comes to dispelling the outdated and negative perceptions of what a career in the industry entails.

“The year ahead is going to be a challenging one for everyone, so we need to do all that we can to protect our industry and provide aspirational career opportunities to the next generation of hospitality stars.” She continued: “We want to bring the industry together to utilise its combined resources and support businesses of all shapes and sizes to provide high-quality development opportunities through apprenticeship programmes. Together, we have the power to make real change and protect the future of our industry.”

Peter Ducker, chief executive of the Institute of Hospitality, commented: “This is a clever and effective solution to create a sustainable pool of hospitality professionals – our future managers and leaders – for the greater good of our growing industry. I congratulate the companies that have already pledged their support and encourage more to do the same. It is in all of our interests to invest in the large numbers of well-trained and motivated personnel that the UK hospitality sector will require going forward.”

The Apprenticeship Levy applies to all businesses with an annual PAYE bill of over £3million at the rate of 0.5% of their total pay bill. Businesses which fall under this threshold must pay 10% of the cost of apprenticeships, with the Government funding the remaining 90%.

For more information on the ‘Don’t Waste: The Future of Hospitality’ campaign visit https://hittraining.co.uk/ dont-waste-campaign.