Hospitality Ulster launches Guide to Employing People Over 50

Minister for the Economy Conor Murphy MLA was in attendance as Hospitality Ulster launched their Hospitality Guide to Recruiting Workers Aged 50+ in conjunction with Tourism NI. Launched in Café Parisien in Belfast city centre, the guide focuses on supporting the integration and sustainment of the 50+ workforce within the hospitality sector.

With Office for National Statistics data stating that the UK employment rate for those aged between 50 and 64 stands at 70.8% and the economic inactivity rate for those in the same age bracket is 27.3%, the guide seeks to dispel myths around the employment of those aged 50+ and advise operators on how to overcome any barriers with such employment and on what changes business can make, both short- and long-term, to ensure that their business is age inclusive.

The guide is the latest initiative aimed at expanding employment opportunities in a sector often referred to as the ‘backbone’ of Northern Ireland’s tourism industry. Given the ongoing work being done by the NI Region Hospitality & Tourism Skills Board towards the development of more good quality hospitality employment opportunities, the respective organisations consider the chance to further debias recruitment essential.

The hospitality sector is the fourth largest private sector employer in Northern Ireland, with an annual turnover of £2 billion. For every £100 spent in the sector, £58 is added to the local economy and hospitality businesses in Northern Ireland purchase one third of all NI agrifood.

As the lead of the NI Region Hospitality & Tourism Skills Board, Hospitality Ulster has delivered a range of initiatives aimed at enhancing the hospitality workforce, such as the Wellbeing Promise, a commitment from employers to develop their staff and provide a work-life balance delivered with Tourism NI, and the successful Get Into Bartending and Get Into Food courses. The courses, codesigned and delivered with Belfast MET and taking place in hospitality premises with real products, saw over 100 candidates achieve a level 2 qualification in customer service through a pilot in autumn 2023.

Get Into Bartending has since been rolled out across Northern Ireland’s six further education colleges with Department for the Economy funding. 98 of 103 participants so far have achieved a level 2 qualification. The success of the scheme has attracted private sector investment, with Diageo joining forces with Hospitality Ulster and Belfast MET to deliver an enhanced programme which includes a visit to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.

To view the guide in full, please see click here

Conor Murphy MLA, Minister for the Economy, said: “I welcome the launch today of Hospitality Ulster’s Hospitality Guide to Recruiting Workers Aged 50+ in conjunction with Tourism NI and congratulate Hospitality Ulster and Tourism NI for providing support to businesses in this sector. It is important that the sector grows in a way that creates good jobs and this guide will help provide support and sustainment of the over 50s workforce in the hospitality sector.

“Recently retired people or people looking for a second career are increasingly finding good and rewarding jobs within tourism and hospitality and in return these sectors benefit from the inclusion of older workers, bringing with them life experience and skills garnered in other, sometimes very different, careers.”

Joel Neill, Director of Operations, Hospitality Ulster, said: “As the lead of the NI Region Hospitality & Skills Tourism Board, Hospitality Ulster’s goal is to transform productivity and deliver the skilled workforce necessary for sustainable growth in the hospitality and tourism industry. Along with initiatives such as Get Into Bartending and Get Into Food, our Hospitality Guide to Recruiting Workers Aged 50+ is another step towards unlocking the economic potential of Northern Ireland.

“Employment in hospitality grew by 33% from 2013-2023, when average job growth was 18%, showing the importance of the sector in economic growth. As the Minister prepares to bring forward his Good Jobs Bill, we see codesigned schemes such as this as a blueprint for how the public and private sectors, and hospitality in particular, can work together to deliver both economic growth and good employment conditions at the same time.”

Eimear Callaghan, Head of Experience and Industry Development, Tourism NI, said: “Tourism and hospitality provides a wide range of vibrant roles right across the North, offering flexibility, training and progression opportunities for all. 75% of jobs in our sector are found outside Belfast, showing tourism as a key driver of vibrant regions and communities. We are delighted to partner with Hospitality Ulster on this guide to encourage recent retirees and career switchers to join our industry.

“They are welcome additions, often bringing with them a whole host of transferrable skills gained from other sectors. The Guide is one of a number of initiatives to encourage more people to pursue a career in tourism and to change perceptions of this industry, including our successful Make it Here campaign. We applaud all our industry partners and stakeholders who champion our people, providing good jobs right across the North.”

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