The good news is that the latest unemployment figures show Gloucestershire is doing better than the national average. Figures from Jobcentre Plus show the unemployment rate for the South West has decreased by 2.8 percent compared with a national decrease of 2.2 percent (Dec 09 – Jan 10). However, the bad news is the number of young people out of work in South Gloucestershire has gone up from 2.9 to 4.5 percent since the recession took hold. Currently, 4.3 percent of 16 to 18-year-olds are not in work, education or training in the district. With this is mind, it is now even more important to help the next generation of business people integrate into our local industries.
The Holiday Inn Express Cheltenham has volunteered to support the young people of Gloucestershire looking to develop in the hospitality industry. Recent activities include work placement schemes that develop the pupils of Cheltenham’s National Star College. The alliance has generated work placement programmes spanning over 5 weeks for students who may not have access to the same work experience opportunities because of their capabilities. The 5 week programme integrates students into all areas of the business, from kitchen duties to sales and marketing.
A new initiative called ‘Graduate Challenge’ has been launched by the University of Gloucestershire and Gloucestershire First, designed to nurture local talent and keep it within the county. The programme has been funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to sustain employment growth amongst young people since the recession. The programme offers recent Higher Education graduates living in Gloucestershire who are either out of work, or working fewer than 16 hours a week, the opportunity to apply for one of 150 work placements in the county. This hotel in Cheltenham is proud to support the county’s own local graduates by providing paid work placements for a year to budding hospitality students. “One year experience in our industry is so valuable for any candidate,” says Kimberley Hatherall Sales & Marketing Manager Holiday Inn Express Cheltenham, “…in such a competitive job market young people are too often turned away by employers. Actually they have valid, passionate and fresh ideas to bring to any business – such talent needs to be sustained within the local business community.” The Holiday Inn Express Cheltenham is keen to support the Graduate Challenge within Gloucestershire during 2010.
Gloucestershire Business United, the new initiative to stimulate local business activity, was celebrated at the Holiday Inn Express Cheltenham who hosted the launch of the scheme. Key speakers during the event highlighted different ways local businesses could grow by working together. A significant note was made to the importance of employing locally to stimulate the regional economy, of which the Holiday Inn Express Cheltenham is extremely proud to contribute to.