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Hospitality faces a skills shortage and lacks exposure to the younger generation with many seeing it as a stop-gap rather than a long-term career opportunity. But how do we attract young people to see hospitality as a worthwhile career choice?

How we attract people to work in hospitality has been a hot topic in the industry for some time. Hospitality faces a skills shortage and lacks exposure to the younger generation with many seeing it as a stop-gap rather than a long-term career opportunity. But how do we attract young people to see hospitality as a worthwhile career choice?

Sodexo employee, Omy Lawal is a passionate Springboard ambassador who last week hosted her first interactive cooking workshops for other Springboard ambassadors to connect, discuss and work on a youth engagement initiative. The long-term aim of her new project is to promote the industry, provide exposure to hospitality, connect students with industry experts and provide employment and training opportunities. This week we’ve been proud to support Omy’s inspiring work by hosting the first Employability and Food workshops at our Innovation Centre. Young people came together to develop their skills and hopefully spark an interest in working in hospitality.

This ‘Omy and Friends’ initiative is aimed at 11 to 16-year olds, the same age range as the Springboard FutureChef programme, which Lockhart is also proud to support. This event will help to bridge the gap between FutureChef competitions and engage chefs, mentors, school teachers, parents and budding young chefs with cooking, especially with ‘Cooking in the Curriculum’.


If you have Instagram, get a glimpse at what happened in this Instagram story or click the Vision Board below which features an array of hospitality inspiration designed by the students.

What do Springboard think of the new ‘Omy and Friends’ initiative?

Following the first Employability and Food workshop we caught up with Tony Mullen from Springboard to find out more about the fantastic work that is going on in this area.

What is your role within Springboard and could you give us an overview of the Kickstart programmes?

I am an Employability Programme Manager at the charity. Kickstart is a short intensive 3-week work experience programme designed to give students studying hospitality related courses the chance to gain the skills, qualifications and practical experience required in the industry. Kickstart also provides the students with a platform to secure apprenticeships and jobs.

How does the new initiative ‘Omy & Friends’ fit into this idea?

Sodexo are one of our most supportive business partners and ‘Omy & Friends’ fits perfectly into our Kickstart Programme as it is designed to promote the industry to younger generations and to increase employment opportunities. ‘Omy & Friends’ have hosted our most recent Kickstart cohort for an entire week of hospitality training at their Holborn office and they have also been giving work placement opportunities to our candidates throughout the summer.

Could you tell us a little bit more about the inaugural ‘Omy & Friends’ event at our London Innovation Centre?

We were delighted to run an ‘Omy & Friends’ workshop that focused on building the confidence of our students and increasing their understanding of personality and career choice. It was a fun, interactive and reflective day. In the second half of the day the students were able to get hands-on in the kitchen and pick up valuable practical work experience whilst doing some pastry activities. This type of taster activity is an invaluable part of the Kickstart Programme as it brings the industry to life and gives the students the chance to experience it. Omy was an exceptional trainer on the day making everything relatable to our young students.

What did you think of our Innovation Centre & Commercial Kitchen whilst hosting this event?

It was great to be hosted at Bunzl’s London Innovation Centre & Commercial Kitchen, where we were made to feel very welcome from the moment we arrived. Many of our students are interested in having a career in the kitchen so to be able to see and use some of the incredible equipment available at the Innovation Centre was fantastic. The students were blown away by the environment and the experience. We had a great day and we even got to eat the Eton Mess we made. The group left with very positive impressions of both Bunzl Lockhart and Sodexo, and with more determination to take their first step in a hospitality career. As a charity, we are hugely indebted to this kind of support to help us spread the message of hospitality being a great industry in which to have a career.

Why is Lockhart so passionate about initiatives like this?

Lockhart Catering is proud to support the work of Springboard at other events throughout the year including National Waiters Day and the annual FutureChef final which is one of the highlights of the Lockhart Catering calendar. We are sponsors of the FutureChef competition and provide prize plates and a donation of £500 to the winning school. This quote was sent to us from the cookery teacher at 2018's winning school and when you receive emails like this you truly realise how all the hard work and support around the competition and initiatives like ‘Omy & Friends’ is so worthwhile.

"On behalf of Bro Dinefwr School in Llandeilo Carmarthenshire, I would like to thank you very much indeed for the catering equipment that I received last week in school. I am now looking forward very much in using the equipment and I will have fond memories of Lockhart company.” Doreen Martin

We are very excited to see the development of Omy & Friends over the coming months and will bring you more news on the project as it happens. You can follow the development of Omy’s initiative here and by keeping an eye on the hashtags #OMJ #omyandfriends #lockhartinlondon #londoncatering


Lockhart Catering on 3 August 2018 12:00 AM

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