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HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY COULD SAVE UP TO £700 MILLION BY EMBRACING NEW SKILLS and EMPLOYMENT STRATEGY

5th Nov 2007


HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY COULD SAVE UP TO 700 MILLION BY EMBRACING NEW SKILLS and EMPLOYMENT STRATEGY

Travelodge today announced plans to help recruit up to 2, 500* long term unemployed into the 85Bn tourism industry as part of a new Government skills blueprint for London.

Travelodge Chief Executive Grant Hearn joined Mayor of London Ken Livingstone to launch the London Skills and Employment Board's (LSEB) new plan, which is backed by a 560Mn skills budget.

Travelodge is one of the first national employers to pilot the new programmes proposed in the first ever London Skills and Employment Strategy, which aims to transform London's skills supply up to and beyond 2012 Olympic Games.

Government research suggests staff turnover in the UK hospitality industry is as high as 60%, twice the national average, with 468,900 people forecast to leave it next year**. More local recruitment, more 'in work' skills training and closer industry partnerships with education systems could cut the 700 Million lost productivity bill the industry presently suffers from.

Travelodge plans to open 500 hotels across the UK by 2020 - 225 hotels in London - an ambitious target that will see the budget hotel chain recruit 10,000 new jobs nationwide. A quarter of the new employees could come from long term unemployed as part of new schemes announced today.

As part of the strategy, London businesses will be encouraged to sign a new 'Employer Offer'. In return for guaranteeing job interviews to long term unemployed, job agencies will provide initial candidate screening and train prospective employees in the specific skills of the employer to accelerate the recruitment process and save business costs.

Travelodge CEO Grant Hearn said: "Travelodge wants to make hotels available to everyone and that means careers as well as customers. Too many barriers are preventing Londoners that are both in and out of work from getting the opportunities they deserve. We have a collective responsibility as London employers to help the more disadvantaged people in our communities find work - this proposal is a crucial step toward achieving that goal and reducing unemployment in the capital.

"I passionately endorse the London Skills Employment Board's proposed Skills blueprint and its call to all employers to help unlock the talent hidden away in their communities."

Following a pilot at the London City Road Travelodge, the hotel chain is working closely with Job Centre Plus at its Euston and Southwark hotels to run pre-employment training schemes - an essential strand of the LSEB's proposed strategy which will enable some of the more disadvantaged people in London get on the job ladder.

Next year, Travelodge Hotel Managers across England, Wales and Scotland will enter Local Employment Partnerships with their relevant Job Centre Plus offices to support nationwide efforts getting claimants back into work.

Up to 30% of the working age population in London are not in employment, according to the report. More than 2.4million people (10% of working age population) have been claiming benefits for more than five years, according to new research also released today by the Conservative Party.

Joining Grant Hearn and Mayor Ken Livingstone were Dora Koroma, Sarah Adesilu and Abigail Sakouti - three new employees at the City Road Travelodge, who joined from a new local employment scheme.

Londoners and London business are invited to now debate the new plans before the final Strategy is published in Spring 2008.

---ends---

* Travelodge plans to recruit 10,000 new staff by 2020 with potentially 25% coming from local Job Centre Plus offices through a scheme that is part of the Mayor's Skills Strategy.

** People1st forecasts the cost of each lost worker at between 1,500 and 4,500 per person and that on current rates, 468,900 will leave next year.


For further information please contact:
Travelodge Press Office
T: 01844 358 603
E: pressoffice@travelodge.co.uk

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