Businesses join forces for The Big Hospitality Conversation

With a month to go, The Big Hospitality Conversation Leeds is set to bring together over 100 hospitality and tourism businesses from across Leeds at the Queen’s Hotel on September 26.

The initiative, led by the British Hospitality Association (BHA) will inspire young people to join the hospitality industry through meaningful career starts, such as work experience and apprenticeships pledged by local businesses.

With over 150 young people signed up to attend, the event will encourage students and job seekers to think about the next steps they need to take in order to start a career in the hospitality industry.

In partnership with the Leeds Hotels and Venues Association and supported by LeedsBID, the 41st Big Hospitality Conversation will support BHA’s mission to demonstrate the power of the industry to tackle youth unemployment.

The event will showcase the breadth of the industry, from independent bars and restaurants to multinational food and hotel chains. With well-known brands YO! Sushi and Costa Coffee signed up, along with Leeds-based Jones Bar Group who brought the incredibly popular Roxy Ball Room to the City, the day will provide variety of opportunities for those thinking about a career in hospitality.

Simon Woodward, principal lecturer school of events, tourism & hospitality at Leeds Beckett University, said: “The Big Hospitality Conversation is a great opportunity for our students to engage with employers directly in order to explore the wide range of prospects in the hospitality industry.

“Our BSc Hospitality Business Management degree is designed to incorporate as much practical work experience as possible, with the option of students being able to take a sandwich year to gain a year’s industry experience. The great thing about hospitality is that we have the jobs right now in Leeds and the demand is growing. By 2020 it is anticipated that 300,000 skilled workers will be needed in order to keep up with predicted growth.”

Sam Purssell, Jones Bar Group Ltd, said: “We are thrilled to be involved in this event to showcase how exciting the hospitality sector is for young people wishing to develop a career. With Eleven venues in the group, we employ almost 200 staff, the majority under 25 years of age, and this always makes for a vibrant and stimulating work place.

“We currently have vacancies which we would like to fill at this event and we’re also keen to talk about the many opportunities for apprenticeships within our businesses.”

The Big Hospitality Conversation is a nationwide campaign led by the British Hospitality Association in partnership with Springboard, National Apprenticeship Service and the Department for Work and Pensions. It offers a commitment to creating job opportunities for 16-24 year olds.

Over 67,000 job opportunities have so far been created at events like the one in Leeds, exceeding the original target of the campaign to create up to 60,000 jobs for young people by 2016.

The event on Monday 26 September will run from 1pm to 5pm. More information and to register contact or e-mail

Hospitality Businesses, with placement and employment opportunities wishing to attend the event are invited to register at

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