A campaign to encourage more people to work in the tourism and hospitality industry has been launched by Visit Wales in response to nationwide staff shortages following the Covid pandemic.

Thousands of jobs are currently up for grabs in the sector that employed more than 157,000 people in Wales prior to the pandemic.

Restaurants, pubs and hotels are desperate for staff amid increased customer demand following the easing of Covid restrictions and more people choosing UK-based holiday destinations this summer.

The call to arms focuses on highlighting the personal development opportunities, potential career paths, and tangible benefits on offer to people who could fill roles like front of house, chefs, waiters, housekeeping, as well as supervisory and management roles.

The Celtic Manor Resort in Newport is one of the businesses currently experiencing the effects of the shortage, with some areas within the five star resort yet to re-open due to recruitment challenges.

Now, staff from the resort, which hosted golf’s 2010 Ryder Cup and the 2014 Nato Conference, are encouraging people to boost numbers across the industry by highlighting their experiences and the important role hospitality staff will play in Wales’s pandemic recovery.

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Sy Crockford, executive restaurant chef, said: “The reason I love my job is the creativity and the diversity of what I do. Every day is different, every day is exciting.

“I left sixth form and ended up going to Pembrokeshire College where I got into hospitality. I ended up in a kitchen where all of a sudden I wasn’t using a pen and a pad, I was being creative and expressing everything I had onto a plate.

“I’ve been able to cook for numerous celebrities, travel the world with it, and that’s just from cooking. So it opens up so many doors.”

Mathew Verallo began his career cleaning glasses at the resort’s award-winning Merlins Bar. 

Fast forward six years and he has recently been promoted to operations manager for one of the business’ new Tŷ Hotels.

He said: “The hospitality sector is probably the most important sector in Wales. It’s the backbone of our economy.

“We’ve come out of just such a really bad couple of years especially in terms of tourism and it’s really nice to see things opening back up again and guests coming back in. This is what Wales was made for.”

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As reported by The National last weekthe hospitality sector has come under pressure as more than 90,000 EU workers left the UK’s hospitality sector in the last year.

UK Hospitality Cymru executive director David Chapman said: “Businesses are currently facing a severe staffing crisis as a bundle of post-Covid and post-Brexit issues impact simultaneously.  

"We are fully supportive of this awareness raising recruitment campaign and delighted that our members are featured as local champions.  This is one measure of several needed to help to get the message out there that this is a great industry in which to build a reliable, lifelong and fulfilling career.”

The Wales-wide campaign will be run in partnership with Working Wales, a service delivered by Careers Wales, the Government’s employability gateway for anyone aged 16 and over.

It provides an advice and coaching service, supporting access to employment and training to help further careers and improve wellbeing.

Launched in May 2019, the service is run by a team of more than 130 careers advisers and employability coaches, and is funded by Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.

Individuals looking for work or a change in career are encouraged to visit the Working Wales website.

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