First Dates' Fred warns of hospitality skills crisis

We need to ensure the right educational pathway and funding for catering colleges, says TV presenter Fred Sirieix

Kate Parker

Covid: First Dates' Fred Sirieix has warned of a hospitality and catering colleges 'crisis'

The hospitality industry is walking into a skills and staffing crisis that it has never seen before, a famous TV presenter and food and drink expert has warned. 

Fred Sirieix, popular host of Channel 4’s First Dates and Snackmasters and one of the stars of Gordon, Gino and Fred's Road Trip, has spoken out about hospitality training, saying that there is no “common vision or strategy” to sort out the “crisis”. 

On Saturday, he tweeted: “On the one hand, it’s great anyone can walk into a restaurant/hotel/bar, etc... with no experience whatsoever and get a job. On the other hand, however, it shows how far we have to go to not only promote #hospitality as a career but also ensure the right educational pathway and funding for catering colleges exist. 

“It is vital we educate and upskill UK homegrown talents. The industry is walking straight into a skills and staff crisis unseen before. Sadly, we have no common vision or strategy to sort this out.” 

He added: “What we need is a coalition of the willing. Professionals, education specialists, the Treasury and education departments working together forwards a common goal. That is the only way.”

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The impact of the pandemic on the hospitality industry has been well-documented over the past 12 months, and, according to those who responded to Mr Sirieix, this has filtered down to colleges.

First Dates' Fred Sirieix worried about the closure of catering colleges

James Brooke, a chef at Coventry College, said: “Two colleges in the West Midlands are due to close their catering provision by the summer. Unfortunately, the one I work for is one of them. At one point it was one of the biggest catering colleges in the country, now reduced to nothing.”

Mr Sireix tweeted: “If catering colleges keep on closing at this rate, what chance do we have to inspire/train/educate home-grown talents and solve the skills and staff shortage? #hospitality."

Others responded to Mr Sireix’s tweet, also raising concerns about colleges closing catering departments.

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Kate Parker

Kate Parker is a schools and colleges content producer.

Find me on Twitter @KateParkerTes

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