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Step22 launched to support the hospitality sector in its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic

As we launch Step22, our new recruitment and training solution to get great people into great jobs in the hospitality sector, Catch22's Director of Vocational Training - Chris Stoker-Jones - takes a look at the impact COVID-19 has had on the hospitality sector, and why action is needed now more than ever.

12 February 2021

Barista, cafe, making coffee, preparation and service concept. Female hands at work

Twelve months ago, the hospitality sector was facing up to a talent crisis, in the main due to Brexit. Fast forward nearly a year, and this crisis has been increased ten-fold with the global COVID-19 pandemic. Within days of the lockdown being announced in March 2020, the industry felt a 57.6% drop in like-for-like sales compared to 2019.

The UK Hospitality Industry employs over 3.2 million people and contributes to over £130 billion in economic activity, but it has been suggested that over £50 billion of sales have been lost so far, and some staggering and sobering numbers paint a depressing picture:

  • 33,653 licenced premises were closed at the end of October 2020 – 30% of the total,
  • 88 million fewer visits to hospitality sector in the third quarter of 2020, and
  • 27% of multi-site leaders predict their groups will be unviable within the first six months of 2021 if current levels of support continue.

However, whilst the sector is still within the survival period of this pandemic, there are green shoots of hope blossoming from what is one of the most adaptable and resilient industries. From restaurant owners converting to collection and home delivery, to mixologists venturing into the online world of masterclasses sharing their skills, we have seen some incredible entrepreneurship demonstrated.

The road to recovery

The next stage must be the recovery, and this is where Catch22 has decided to create Step22, our specialist hospitality brand of our Apprenticeships team to support the hospitality sector in revitalising and reinvigorating their businesses.

Put simply, there are too many young people out of work. According to research compiled by IHG, 11.7% of all vacancies are in hospitality, the second highest sector. Step22 is invested in supporting the reduction of this statistic, working with like-minded employers such as Compass Group and Hej! Coffee to deliver our Hospitality Team Member “Barista” Apprenticeships to their workforces.

In fact, Step22 (in collaboration with Compass Group’s RA Venues arm and Hej! Coffee) is launching an exciting Traineeship programme in London. We will be offering up to 48 young people with an interest in hospitality a chance to join us on a programme, giving them the skills needed to flourish within a career in the coffee side of hospitality. All candidates will receive high-quality customer service training, English and maths teaching, and training in how to effectively apply for jobs, how to wow in an interview and succeed within employment. Compass Group is hoping to be in a position, once the country is unlocked, to offer a range of opportunities to these candidates. What an opportunity for young people searching for that break in hospitality!

Step22 will draw upon the experience of Catch22 Apprenticeships, but will focus solely on the hospitality industry, and we are passionate about creating the best apprenticeships available in the sector. We are already working alongside industry experts such as Diageo to design the most engaging, relevant and impactful apprenticeship programmes available to employers.

Apprenticeships that are fit for purpose

We believe that successful apprenticeships are driven by strong employee and employer relationships, starting with how we design our programmes to be bespoke to our partners: exploring what each employer requires and weaving their needs into the curriculum to ensure that all training maps into an organisation’s learning and development strategy and that the end result meets the business objectives.

Why not check out how Step22 can support your business to recruit, train and develop your staff to be market leaders.


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