Big Conversation helping youngsters into work

Published: Thursday 27th February 14

The borough’s young people will be able to meet potential employers and have face-to-face chats about jobs and apprentice opportunities in the hospitality industry at an event next month.

The mayor of Wandsworth, Cllr Angela Graham, has invited the Big Conversation to hold one of its events at the town hall on March 25.

The Big Conversation is a joint initiative between Business in the Community, the British Hospitality Association and the charity Springboard, which supports people into work in the hospitality and leisure industry.

The town hall event will bring together influential industry leaders, local hospitality and food businesses and local young people to stimulate discussion and debate and to help identify the barriers faced by young people trying to get into the industry.

Those businesses taking part will be encourage to pledge to provide a job, work experience opportunity or apprentice place for a youngster.

The young people have been invited from local schools and via Job Centre Plus. Youngsters taking part in the mayor of Wandsworth’s inter-school Young Chef of the Year competition will also be there, and students from South Thames College's new £5.7m Hospitality and Catering Academy will be showing off their skills as they serve food to visitors at the event.

Cllr Graham has pledged to spend her mayoral year creating opportunities for young people, including the young chef contest, the Youth Fashion Wandsworth competition for budding fashion designers fashion designers and the Dragons’ Den contest for young entrepreneurs, She is also supporting local young people’s charities and uniformed groups.

The event is also part of the council’s wider pledge to ensure local people get the jobs and apprenticeships created by regeneration work across the borough and the transformation of Nine Elms.

It has set up the Work Match scheme to match people up with employment and training opportunities, and is working with schools in Battersea to ensure they are at the heart of the new Nine Elms. This includes the Education Links programme to provide work experience and employability training.

Cllr Graham said: 

“Every day new opportunities in the leisure, food and hospitality industries are opening up in our borough, and we want to ensure our young people are best placed to take advantage of them.

“In my year as mayor I have done all I can to raise the aspirations of our young people and help them realise that they can achieve whatever they set their mind to - and I’ve been delighted to see them rise to the challenge. It’s vital they understand that the new restaurants, hotels and businesses springing up in Nine Elms and elsewhere in the borough are a golden opportunity for them to succeed in a growing industry.”

Ufi Ibrahim, CEO of the British Hospitality Association said:

“The Big Conversation is all about galvanising local hospitality and tourism businesses to invest in the young people living in their communities.

“As well as encouraging face-to-face conversations and encouraging quality work experience, apprenticeships and jobs for 16-24 year olds in Wandsworth, the Big Conversation nationwide allows us to take a powerful message to government on hospitality’s significant contribution to tackling youth unemployment and stimulating economic growth.”

Food and hospitality businesses interested in joining in the Big Conversation should email events@bha.org.uk or call (020) 7404 7744.

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