ALEXANDER’S Bar and Kitchen in Skipton hosted a careers conference for the catering and hospitality industry aimed at schools’ careers advisors and food technology teachers.

The event, organised by Craven College, included speakers from Alexander’s, Northcote hotel and restaurant, Keelham Farm Shop, Individual Inns and Springboard UK as well as from the college itself.

The aim was to send a positive message to school pupils about the amount of opportunities that exist in the catering and hospitality industry, while at the same time addressing the issue of the difficulty of recruitment in the often overlooked industry.

Chris Convery, human resources manager at Northcote, said: ‘Working in the hospitality industry is often not seen as a profession in this country, unlike other countries.”

He went on to cite the example of Lisa Allen, their one star Michelin chef who had only enjoyed art and cookery at school but who now manages a team of 30 chefs.

Gillian Wilman, HR manager for Individual Inns outlined opportunities for apprentices on their flexible training programme while Jessica Wright, Alexander’s managing director, said she was on a mission to make Skipton a vibrant place for those aged between 18 and 30. As well as learning their trade, in events, cocktail design, service, and food preparation, staff learn transferable skills and develop confidence through going out into the community and demonstrating their new talents at events.

Stuart Cove, general manager, Keelham Farm Shop, stressed the importance of a ‘can do’ attitude they look for in all their employees.

He said Keelham emphasises the importance of apprenticeships as a way of developing skills and look to promote home grown staff while giving them the chance of sampling different departments for their own development.

Will Jacques, professional cookery instructor, Craven College, said: “The feedback from schools has been excellent. It was so good to present a joined up picture from education and industry to those who are able to go back to the classroom and share current information with their pupils about all the wonderful opportunities, not just in this country but round the world, that catering and hospitality offers.”