By Daniel Hunter

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has teamed up with the British Hospitality Association (BHA) to provide a welcome boost to apprenticeships in the capital.

The two hosted a ‘Hospitality Conversation’ at City Hill bringing together business executives from companies including Nando’s, Whitbread and Costa and matching them with unemployed 16-24 year olds who are eager to start careers in the sector.

The British Hospitality Association have joined the Mayor’s Apprenticeship Campaign and pledged to create 7,000 new jobs in London by the end of 2016. Yesterday (Wednesday)'s) event focused on roles in the restaurant trade and include a careers fair where employers can interview potential candidates and offer on the job opportunities and placements.

A recent report found that 16% of UK hotels and 13% of restaurants complained of consistent, long-term difficulties in filling vacancies, overwhelmingly due to widespread skills shortages. The Big Hospitality Conversation is a joint initiative between the British Hospitality Association, Springboard and Business in the Community aimed at bringing together business leaders in the sector with young people to deliver skills and employment and boost economic growth.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Apprenticeships are a fantastic way of getting young people into work and offer invaluable training and insight. Businesses of every scale can benefit from having bright, hardworking, ambitious young people in their company and I want to thank all the firms in the capital who have already hired an apprentice and urge even more to get on board.“

Ufi Ibrahim, CEO of the British Hospitality Association said: “Hospitality is a successful industry with even greater growth prospects offering a vast range of job opportunities for all job seekers of any age. The breadth of job roles and the training available means that bright and focused young people can succeed very quickly. We welcome young people to come along to the event to hear from insiders about how they started out in their careers. At the City Hall event businesses will be offering on the spot job opportunities, so a young job seeker could start the day unemployed and leave with a job. Where, in any other industry, would that happen?”

This week the Mayor launched a major campaign to encourage more of the capitals 800,000 small to medium firms to hire apprentices. The campaign will be advertised across the city including on London Underground posters, advertising screens, digital media and newspapers.

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