Chef Paul Askew of the city’s renowned The Art School Restaurant is one of the driving forces behind the Liverpool Hospitality Association.
One of its key aims is to encourage young people to consider hospitality as a career as there is currently a shortage of workers in the city.
A stipulation of membership is taking on two apprentices per year and offering work experience to school pupils.
“We know the landscape of the city is changing, the visitor economy is booming,” said Askew (pictured). “Trip Advisor says there are 1,600 to 1,700 restaurants in Liverpool and there are 7,500 hotel bedrooms with more on the way.
“There is huge pressure on us to deliver this, we are the third most visited city in the UK so the time is now and we need to seize the day.
“It is so exciting to see it finally come to fruition but who is going to work in these places? How are we going to recruit to these standards? How are we going to raise the bar?”
“Most of us who have worked in this industry know the amount of mentoring that is required when working with young people and helping them through what is a very challenging industry.
“What we need to do is take responsibility as an industry. I hope it will make us feel part of an organisation that has some teeth and lobbying power, giving us the opportunity to converse with the Metro Mayor and Joe Anderson and be able to address them on matters such as the proposed Hospitality Tax.”
Elaine Bowker, Principal of City of Liverpool College, said: “We are one of the biggest colleges in the UK and the only college that offers the RACA qualification. This city is fantastic for visitor economy but that depends on people and food in particular.
“ At the moment there is only Paul who is supporting the Royal Academy Professional Chefs Apprenticeship. We do more training in the Lakes and Manchester than we currently do here in Liverpool.
“There is little demand from young people coming through to work in this sector which is why I need you all to support me to encourage young people who want do this as a career. Our businesses are dependent on them.
“If there is one thing we can do as a sector, it is to raise the bar around better advice and guidance around young people. We all need to challenge the perception of what working in this industry is like.”
Steven Hesketh from Liverpool Hoteliers Association, who is also behind the new association, added: “I’m looking forward to the energy of the restaurateurs and the hoteliers coming together with our key driving force being the visitor economy. It would be fantastic if we could get as many restaurants, bars and hotels to sign up as possible.”
If you would like to become a member of the Liverpool Hospitality Association, contact Steven Hesketh for further information. The subscription for membership is £100 a year.