A PLAN to train up to 3,000 long-term unemployed people for jobs in the hospitality sector is being put forward by the Irish Hotels Federation.
Incoming president of the federation Michael Vaughan said the hospitality sector faced a shortage of trained craft and entry-level workers such as breakfast chefs, bar staff, porters and chamber assistants.
After his election at the federation’s annual conference in Kilkenny yesterday, Mr Vaughan called on the Government to set up training schemes – similar to those previously run by Fáilte Ireland – to cater for the industry’s annual intake of bartenders, chefs, porters, waiters and chamber assistants.
The scheme would reintroduce unemployed people to “real work” while improving the skill levels of “unprepared” hospitality staff, he said. Mr Vaughan said the federation also wanted some of the State’s hotels which close for the winter months to be hired out “at basic rates” to be used as training centres.
He had already put the idea to Minister for Tourism Leo Varadkar who attended the conference this week. Mr Vaughan said Mr Varadkar expressed a willingness to consider the proposal. Mr Vaughan said the federation would be happy to take part in local skills-needs surveys with employment exchanges to determine the levels of participation. “It could be set up on a local basis, using the federation’s branch network and it could provide jobs-training for regeneration areas such as Roxboro [in Limerick],” he said.
Similarly, he said, specialist training could improve the abilities of porters and bar staff, chamber assistants and others. “Very often these people are the first points of contact with the Irish for the visitor,” he said. Federation members traditionally take on some 3,000 such staff annually, some of them for seasonal work. Part of the proposal is that staff would be given a “skills pass” which would be a certification system to show they had been trained.
Tim O'Brien, The Irish Times