Hospitality gets people talking in Leeds

Big Hospitality Conversation at the Queens Hotel, Leeds. Picture by Simon Hulme
Big Hospitality Conversation at the Queens Hotel, Leeds. Picture by Simon Hulme
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Hopeful youngsters packed out a Leeds city centre event which was aimed at promoting the hospitality industry to those seeking work.

Around 100 businesses including Leeds-based Jones Bar Group, Costa Coffee and YO! Sushi turned out to the The Big Hospitality Conversation at the Queens Hotel this afternoon.

Gordon Jackson chats to students at the event.

Gordon Jackson chats to students at the event.

Employers, pupils and students heard from Yorkshire’s industry leaders and as well as young people who have had success in the tourism sector.

Cody Wilson, 21, from Wakefield, spoke on stage about her apprenticeship as an assistant accountant with Leeds’s Radisson Blu hotel during a panel discussion.

“It’s a lot of hard work but it’s fun and if you get something that you want to do it’s so rewarding because you get to learn so quickly,” she said.

After an introduction from British Hospitality Association CEO Ufi Ibrahim, job seekers and employers sat down to have informal conversations about the industry.

Chairman of Leeds Hotels and Venues Association Gordon Jackson said: “The people who’ve presented have shown that their natural skills are of benefit to the hospitality industry. Be it in customer service, be it in connecting with folk, be it in cooking or whichever areas – they’ve shown there are futures for hundreds of people like themselves.”

Each business made a pledge which could further a young person’s prospects. Restaurant YO! Sushi, which has a branch in Trinity Leeds, committed to providing two apprenticeships in the city and also in Harrogate.

The 41st Big Hospitality Conversation was supported by Leeds Business Improvement District, Leeds City Council, employment charity Springboard, the Queens, Leeds Hotels and Venues Association and British Hospitality Association.

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