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Growing hospitality sector offers multitude of apprenticeship opportunities

22 August 2018

The recent surge in growth in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area’s hospitality sector is creating a wealth of apprenticeship opportunities for young people.

A number of new bars, hotels and restaurants have opened in recent years while many more are currently under construction and Council’s Skills Development team are encouraging young people to view apprenticeships as a viable alternative to further and higher education.

Through the Apprenticeship NI programme young people can work full time and gain an industry recognised qualification, a win-win solution to learning.

The Apprenticeship Marketing Campaign currently being driven by Council and supported by the Careers Service, NWRC and local training providers aims to promote apprenticeships to young people as a viable, realistic and cost effective alternative to further education at level 2 (GCSE level), level 3 (A level) or level 4 and 5 (Foundation Degree level).
Highlighting the importance of apprenticeship schemes in the Council area, Tina Gillespie, Skills Manager with Derry City and Strabane District Council said:

“The Council is working proactively with a number of education providers, private training organisations, careers service and companies to encourage people to avail of apprenticeship opportunities that exist across the Council area.

“The promotion of apprenticeships is a key element of the education and skills outcome set out in the Council’s Strategic Growth Plan, which encourages young people to look at vocational options for training in their chosen profession through on-the-job training, study, an industry-recognised qualification and earning a wage.

“We are delighted with the success of local hotels which have been hiring apprentices and hope it will encourage more young people to look at the many apprenticeship opportunities that exist across a wide range of sectors, from engineering and law to construction and fashion design.”
Apprenticeships offer hands on experience and qualifications in a wide variety of sectors including Construction, Engineering, Hair and Beauty, IT, Retail, Pharmacy and Hospitality.
In recent years two boutique hotels have been built in Derry’s city centre and the Hotel Federation said the addition of at least two more hotels in the coming years will see hotel rooms increase by 25% in the city.
The industry in Northern Ireland requires around 2,000 more workers and, along with the normal recruitment requirements, this would mean 4,400 new employees will be needed by 2020.
Hospitality apprenticeships offer employees the opportunity to build and enhance their career through a combination of real paid work, training and a nationally recognised qualification.
There are numerous and varied careers in the industry from reception to sales, marketing and finance and other operational roles including chefs, waiting and hosting, housekeeping, leisure attendants, bar supervisor and events supervisor. 
Training and apprenticeship providers operating in Derry and Strabane include Babcock Training Ltd, Craft Training Ltd, Customised Training Services Ltd, Global Horizon Skills Ltd, North West Regional College (NWRC),People Plus (Works) NI Ltd, Rutledge Training Ltd and Strabane Training Services Ltd are able to guide young people in the Council area as they begin their career in hospitality.

A recently published report by ASM Chartered Accountants showed that Derry City has been the ‘star of the show’ in terms of hotel performance in Northern Ireland over the past year.

The bedroom occupancy rate for the full year averaged 70.7% - a worthwhile increase on the 68.6% recorded in 2016. 

By 2020 Derry is projected to open 294 additional rooms and over the next 10 years it is anticipated that hospitality will create more jobs than manufacturing and the same as ICT.

A 116-bed Holiday Inn Express is currently under construction on the Strand Road and to the rear 22 short-let apartments will be built as part of a separate project. 

In addition to that a 152-bed hotel hotel ‘The Ebrington’ has been granted planning permission at the former military barracks in the Waterside.

Those two projects alone will provide over 100 people with jobs in the city, which means that young people in the Council area interested in pursuing a career in the hospitality industry can avail of apprenticeships with a range of training providers.

For more information and / or impartial advice on all aspects of apprenticeships including the types and levels available contact a dedicated Skills Advisor at Derry City and Strabane District Council on 028 71 308466  or go to www.getapprenticeships.me.