Written evidence submitted by People1st (OLL 28)

1 Introduction

1.1 People1st is the sector skills council for hospitality, leisure travel and tourism. We are a government-recognised, industry-focused body established to support the development of skills and training within these industries.

1.2 People1st covers the 14 industries that make up the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism sector. These industries are key to the delivery of a successful visitor experience for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

1.3 At a time when there is much focus on the delivery of the Games we are pleased that the Select Committee is taking an opportunity to examine the important issue of the legacy of the Games.

1.4 We are concerned that although much focus is given to the legacy to the sporting and physical infrastructure from the games, there is little focus on legacy from an employment and skills perspective.

1.5 In reference to the scope of the inquiry this lack of focus on skills legacy will impact on:

The ability to deliver lasting social, physical and economic regeneration;

The ability to maximise the value of the Olympic legacy both within the host boroughs, London and across the UK;

The measurement of that successful legacy.

2 Legacy issue 1: maximizing the value of the games for the UK

2.1 The hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism sector has a strong role to play in social and economic regeneration. It is able to offer employment with low barriers to entry to employees from diverse backgrounds whether this is by social, academic or other measures, but at the same time provide progression into sustainable careers.

2.2 The Government Olympic Executive estimates the Games generate 111,000 jobs, many of these in our core sectors of hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism sector.

2.3 Our National Skills Strategy published in March 2007 and refreshed in January this year was welcomed by Lord Coe as key to improving the visitor welcome and ensuring the Games is used as a catalyst for improvement in our sectors.

2.4 The Skills Strategy for our sector consists of a robust 10-point plan which will improve impact in key areas such as management, customer service, training and ensuring employers have a route to recruit skilled employees through an industry job portal.

2.5 While the games is rightly seen as a catalyst to improve skills and offer employment to a broad base we are concerned that 2012 runs the danger of being an end point in the planning horizon for government at national and regional levels.

2.6 While much attention is given to the future of the physical infrastructure we are concerned at a lack of a cohesive plan and a lack of joined up action to ensure the skills legacy beyond the Games.

2.7 It is our view that the Games will mark the start of a 'golden decade' of major sporting events to be hosted in the UK which will include Two Ryder Cups, The Rugby World Cup and potentially the Football World Cup.

2.8 In light of this decade of opportunity we feel there is a need for strong leadership specifically around skills legacy to plan and ensure the UK benefits from the potential uplift to its visitor economy.

2.9 Without proper planning around skills we are concerned that the impact of the Games will not be a legacy of skilled workers but the creation of a short term employment bubble with little long-term impact or benefit to communities, businesses or individuals.

3 Legacy issue 2: maximizing the value of the games among SMEs

3.1 People1st enjoys the support of the top 200 employers in the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism sector who support and guide our co-ordinating role around skills and training in the sector.

3.2 These employers will play an important role in ensuring the right staff with the right skills are in their businesses in time for the 2012 Games. This support is critical in addressing the long term skills needs of the sector in critical areas such as customer service, management and improved technical skills for chefs.

3.3 Despite this, 80% of our businesses in the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism sectors are small and micro businesses.

3.4 Engaging this part of the sector in training and improving skills will be critical in ensuring maximum economic impact of the Games and a positive legacy for the sector.

3.5 Research for our National Skills Strategy showed only 23% of micro-businesses know who to contact for training funding and only 1.5% of small businesses have applied for public training funding.

3.6 The micro-businesses and small businesses in broad local areas around the Games will play a key role in determining positive visitor perceptions. These are key to driving return visits which will be critical to the positive economic legacy of the Games.

3.7 Despite the amount of support, our research shows that sector businesses are unlikely to engage with existing skills advisers, such as Business Link brokers. Greater impact is more likely to be achieved through a sector-specific solution that has national resonance, but that is implemented locally co-ordinated by a local college or training provider.

4 Measurement of legacy

4.1 Our sector, like many others, faces structural deficits in the professional areas which are key to its future success.

4.2 We welcome the Games as a catalyst for addressing key requirements such the need for an additional 66,700 chefs and 58,000 managerial jobs by 2017.

4.3 We also recognise that the Games should have a positive impact in reducing the level of unqualified people in our workforce - currently standing at 12%.

4.4 As part of our call for strong leadership around the issue of skills legacy People1st calls for robust measurement relating specifically to the impact of the Games on addressing long term sector skills needs.

5 Conclusion

5.1 We are confident that the Games has the capability to act as a catalyst for employers in our sector.

5.2 We feel the Games can offer a sustainable positive legacy from a social impact perspective resulting in improved employment and skills and this will have lasting economic benefits.

5.3 They also offer the opportunity to engage with the micro-businesses and small businesses whose skills are key to the future health of the visitor economy.

5.4 Ensuring there a positive skills legacy needs leadership, oversight, and a strategic horizon which goes beyond London 2012.

5.5 We have deliberately focused on two narrow areas of 2012 Games legacy but would be happy to give oral evidence to the committee.

February 2010