North Wales is to get its first regional tourism hospitality academy to encourage more recruits to seek careers in the sector and develop tourism leaders of tomorrow.
The Go North Wales Tourism & Hospitality Academy is being launched by North Wales Tourism in partnership with universities and colleges across North Wales.
And thanks to a sponsorship deal with catering wholesaler, Harlech Foodservice, membership will be free of charge during its first 18 months.
North Wales Tourism managing director Jim Jones said that the academy would bring together for the first time students, hospitality employees, employers and colleges across the region. It could help stave off looming staff shortages.
He said: “It will be a source of opportunities for individuals to get real insight into the rich array of hospitality-related roles across the tourism industry here in North Wales. Finally we will have something that joins the dots, because we need to ensure a healthy pipeline of future recruits.
“By taking action at regional level now, we can help raise the profile of the tourism hospitality trade as a career choice, and to recruit the next generation of employees and leaders.”
During the first year, the virtual academy will launch a web portal showing job opportunities, and for connecting students and pupils to work experience opportunities. The portal is being developed by students at Coleg Llandrillo.
Harlech managing director, Andrew Foskett, said: “We supply hundreds of hotels, cafes, pubs and restaurants all over the region. We talk to our customers all the time and know there are already shortages of chefs and front of house staff.
“Jim approached us to help fund this portal for people looking for training courses and careers in tourism hospitality.
“It’s a pioneering initiative and we are pleased to do something positive to say thank you and support our customers.”
Headquartered in Criccieth, with depots in Chester and Shrewsbury serving the borders and mid-Wales, Harlech Foods itself has a turnover of £32m and employs 217 people.
We’ll have more on the story in the October issue of Wholesale News.
Pictured above: Jim Jones, MD North Wales Tourism (left) with Andrew Foskett, the MD and owner of Harlech Foods, Llanystymdwy with Pam Everley, project manager for the academy.