City’s biggest sectors need investment

Call Lane, Leeds
Call Lane, Leeds
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Moves are needed to bring up the quality and pay structures of two of the biggest industry sectors in the city centre.

Senior councillors have backed a proposal to investigate the feasibility of a new Retail and Hospitality Skills Centre for Excellence opening in Leeds.

If the study findings are agreeable to Leeds City Council and Leeds BID (Leeds Business Improvement District), the two organisations will then work in partnership to develop the scheme later in the year.

It will offer employer led training with a view to improving progression, opportunities and productivity in both sectors.

The retail and hospitality sectors account for 47 per cent of businesses in Leeds city centre.

With the launch of Victoria Gate and John Lewis, in addition to the Trinity Centre, Leeds is now a major shopping attraction for day trippers and weekend visitors.

In turn there is a huge customer base for bars, restaurants and hotels and increasing student numbers add to the night-time economy.

Coun Mohammed Rafique, member for employment, skills and opportunity said: “Having spoken to businesses and liaised closely with a variety of partners, we have with LeedsBID, identified a lack of a dedicated centre in the city that can help meet the challenges faced by employers to attain and retain employees and the public being able to access high quality training to work in both of these sectors.”

Craig Burton, a Leeds recruitment boss, said the hospitality industry had no incentives for workers.

He added: “It is woefully underpaid. The city swells on a weekend and the industry complains there aren’t the people to work in it but what’s the incentive?”

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