The Government is plotting hospitality “boot camps” to get unemployed people back to work and help the nation’s pubs and bars fill over 100,000 vacancies.
Ministers have held meetings with industry representatives to discuss how to make it easier for unemployed people to find work or in the sector, the Telegraph has learned.
One idea being considered is the creation of boot camps where Job Centre candidates would be trained on basic hospitality skills such as food preparation and food safety, setting them up to easily take-up roles in the hospitality industry.
It is understood ministers are hoping to roll out a pilot scheme in the autumn.
The Conservative MP Alun Cairns, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group, said: “There’s a significant number of people that are economically inactive, and the hospitality sector offers an ideal opportunity for employment.
“This boot camp could play a key part in developing young people who are far away from the workplace.”
It comes as the Government is pushing to get people back into work after a sharp rise in inactivity since the pandemic.
The UK is the only G7 economy with a higher inactivity rate now than before Covid, missing out on a vital rebound in employment. 8.7m people are neither in work nor looking for a job.
The increase in inactivity has left industries struggling to hire, with hospitality one of the worst affected.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, which represents pubs and restaurants, said: “We’ve been promoting the role that hospitality can play in that respect, because basically, we can take somebody with no experience, and rapidly upskill them.”
Mel Stride, the Work and Pensions Secretary, has previously said he would pursue “quick wins” in the battle to boost employment. He said in November he wanted to cut through excess bureaucracy.
He said last year: “I’m very keen to make progress quickly because a lot of these schemes take a long time to stand up, work out the details, test, assess, roll out. I think we’ve got to get around that loop much more quickly.”
Tony Wilson at the Institute for Employment Studies said boot camps were “a good idea”.
He said: “These things work best when focused on job, not classroom, instruction – mainly in cooperation with an employer, leading to work experience and interview.”
Boot camps could help to address persistent skills shortages in the hospitality sector. The industry has a higher proportion of unfilled vacancies than any other sector, with almost 130,000 open jobs, according to the Office for National Statistics.
This is the equivalent of more than 5pc of the sector’s total workforce.
Pubs and restaurants are struggling to adapt with the loss of migrant workers, Mr Wilson said.
The end of free movement post-Brexit and Britain’s new immigration system, which focuses on high-skilled migration, has led to a slump in the number of people coming here to take up jobs in pubs and restaurants.
A demographic slide in the number of workers in their late teens and early twenties, who often seek hospitality work, has also added to problems.
A Department for Work & Pensions spokesman said: “We work closely in partnership with the hospitality sector to support the specific challenges they face to recruit workers.
“We are continuing to engage with UK Hospitality to explore how we can offer additional support whilst also helping to prepare jobseekers to fill local vacancies.”