Are you prepared to tackle the shortage of Chef's in the UK?

Are you prepared to tackle the shortage of Chef's in the UK?

Blog Writer Picture - Sarah King

Sarah King, Director of Orcinus Recruit, discusses how to save the Hospitality Industry from Boiling Point.

The Hospitality industry needs to change its mind-set and join the quest to save the industry from, in the words of Chef Daniel Clifford, "its demise!"

As a recruiter and business owner of Orcinus Recruit, I know only too well the struggles we are facing as an industry, I live and breathe this industry on a daily basis.  I have seen this situation rising to boiling point for a few years and launched Orcinus to start the long road to rebuild it from the bottom up.

The last couple of weeks, in particular this week's news, has exploded onto our screens of the shortage of qualified Chefs who hold the basic skills required to work in a freshly food led kitchen.  Only a few years ago, Chefs would flock to the best restaurants and hotels, queueing out the back doors of the kitchen, hoping to land a dream job for the biggest names the industry had to offer, however, there has been a dramatic change and even they, the top Chefs, are now struggling, not just here but internationally.  This news is not new to me, I’ve seen it coming for a few years, the industry’s decline has been sneaking up on us, smaller independent hotels and restaurants have been fighting for Chefs long before the news broke this week – it’s nothing new, just now it is reaching critical point.  Now the top restaurants are struggling the voice is being heard – Shouted from the rooftops – Is it too late to save the industry from boiling point?

  • The Hospitality Industry set to grow to 2.66 million jobs in 2015
  • Industry needs 855,000 NEW Staff by 2017 to replace those leaving
  • Contributes over £30 billion of revenue each Year to the UK
  • Hospitality Industry set to create 60,000 jobs for young people by 2016
  • Orcinus Training is set to provide training to 1,400 young people in our first three years – this figure will increase rapidly if we all work together now!

I have been following numerous Tweets and articles in Big Hospitality as well as The Caterer, highlighting the struggles of the industry in finding talented Chefs across the country.  This has been a growing concern of mine over the last few years and as a recruiter, specialising in quality fresh food led establishments, I have noticed a rapid decline in the skills set of the young Chefs, as well as the number of young people entering the industry.  There is a lot of talk in the industry across the board about the struggles in finding Chefs, however, I am finding it increasingly frustrating that no one is stepping up to the plate and doing anything about.  I have seen this situation occurring for a long time, this was the reason I founded Orcinus, to start to encourage and develop the industry from the bottom up.   

Over the last year, I have established a company called Orcinus Training, primarily to provide solid career foundations for young people through training and work experience which will give them the best possible start in their chosen career in addition to strengthening the Hospitality Industry where it is most vulnerable. 

The Facts:

  • Around one in five job vacancies (22%) are unfilled because employers cannot find workers with the right skills, according to a report by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES)
  • Demand for Chefs has risen by 23% since 2008
  • 59% of Hotels, Restaurants & Pubs struggle to fill these roles
  • Hospitality Industry is forecasting to see up to 660,000 hospitality jobs created by 2020

Fewer and fewer people are encouraged to enter the Hospitality Industry, creating a huge vulnerability, with the rapid growth of Independent Hotel Groups, Pubs and Restaurants, the situation is only set to worsen. By working together, providing training and developing our teams, we can strengthen the industry and help secure its future.

I couldn’t agree more with Chef Daniel, the industry as a whole has to start working together to develop young people, everyone is fighting over the same candidates, but aren’t looking any further than their own front doors – At Orcinus we have over 100 live Chef job vacancies (and we are not even tickling the surface), with the growth of fresh food led establishments’/companies, this is only set to increase at an alarming rate – as an industry we all have to make a stand now to change the future.  I have met with many Hotel Groups to discuss my business opportunity, Orcinus Training, however, as all are very positive about the idea, they are also too focused on investing in their own products and expanding, my question to them is – how are you going to staff your new ventures?.....

Matt Little Dorset Seafood Chef Competition

At Orcinus we have been providing apprenticeships to budding Chefs and Front of House staff for the past year in a select number of our clients establishments and have noticed that young people are interested in the industry, however, they are not encouraged to follow an apprenticeship, for many reasons, one being the lack of knowledge – only 18% of schools in the UK encourage apprenticeships as they don’t fully understand the benefits. The 2015 School and College Leaver annual research report also reveals that only 40 per cent of parents understand the meaning of a higher apprenticeship, which is worrying as the study also shows that parents are the greatest influence on students’ career decisions. – As Chef Daniel touched on in his article, we need to be in schools and colleges encouraging the industry to young people, however, I believe we must target parents as well!

Earlier this year, Orcinus held a Competition (Orcinus Young Chef) for years 9 & 10 in local Winchester schools, which only highlighted the enthusiasm and hunger these kids have for cooking and becoming Chefs, what it also showed is none of them are encouraged or know how to get involved!  The parents were also very supportive of their children finding career paths within the industry – Orcinus has also provided some of the enthusiastic young people, who entered the competition, with work experience in our Clients establishments and are rolling the competition out next year to include Southampton Schools as well. – We even had Chef Andy McKensie from Exclusive Hotels as our guest judge!

A country without a fresh food led industry will be devastating, not only to those of us who have dedicated our lives to it, but also the UK Economy!

It is time to stop discussing the problem and work with the solution - Orcinus Training!

We are currently seeking like-minded industry professional's to join us in an exciting journey to accelerate Orcinus Training to the next level.

Contact Sarah to find out more and hear how we can all unite to save the industry from its expiration!

Orcinus Training. Tel: 01962 940 040

Chef Andy McKensie Quest Judge

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