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Interstate joins forces with hospitality charity to tackle industry employment gap

Interstate Hotels & Resorts – Aimbridge Hospitality’s international division – has partnered with a prominent hospitality employment charity in a bid to tackle the industry skills gap.

Interstate has partnered with Only A Pavement Away – the charity specialising in securing employment within the hospitality industry for people facing homelessness, vulnerable veterans and ex-offenders - in preparation for a predicted uplift in demand.

Only A Pavement Away (OAPA) was founded by Greg Mangham, along with representatives from the hospitality industry, and acts as a conduit to support people facing or experiencing homelessness, helping them find jobs within the hospitality, pub and restaurant industry.

Hazel Hogben (pictured), senior vice president – human resources at Interstate Hotels, said: “We’re proud to be partnering with Only a Pavement Away. The charity carries out work to support those facing homelessness, working with organisations such as ours to identify opportunities for employment within our industry.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has hit hospitality hard and, coupled with the impact of Brexit, we’re facing a real gap in the workforce – something that’s of concern as we inch closer towards a predicted uplift in demand as the vaccination continues to be rolled out.

“By partnering with OAPA we can not only tackle this problem but also support people who are in need of an opportunity to get into work, helping them integrate into communities and rebuild their lives and careers.”

OAPA works by partnering with key hospitality employers and taking those at risk of homelessness from rough sleeping, prison and the military through an extensive process to employment within the industry. The charity also launched its Hospitality Against Homelessness campaign during the first lockdown, set up to focus fundraising on supporting those in hospitality who had been directly affected as a result of the pandemic.

Clients receive an initial assessment, are entered onto relevant training courses and then prepared for interviews with employers in the hospitality sector. Once jobs have been secured, the charity then provides 12 months of support to the employer and employee.

Greg Mangham, Founder of Only A Pavement Away, said: “As we begin to move out of lockdown, we are looking forward to hitting the ground running with Interstate Hotels and watching OAPA members join the team.

“It’s been devasting to watch the events of the past year unfold and, for hospitality in particular, it’s been heart-breaking to see so many of our industry brothers and sisters fall on hard times. With the roadmap to reopening the sector expected to begin imminently, the future now looks a bit brighter, and through our new partnership with Interstate, we’re excited to be contributing to the recovery of the sector and placing so many hardworking individuals back into employment.”

Interstate Hotels & Resorts has a pan-European portfolio of 144 properties, inclusive of committed pipeline, across the UK, western Europe, eastern Europe, and Russia/CIS.

Brands managed by Interstate include Autograph, Novotel, Adagio, Courtyard, Hilton Garden Inn, Hyatt Place, Radisson, Residence Inn, Staybridge, Mercure, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express, Luxury Collection, Marriott, Renaissance, AC Hotels by Marriott, Hilton, Hampton by Hilton and ibis Hotels.

Interstate’s portfolio also comprises a number of independent hotels, restaurants and spa and health brands, including Marco Pierre White, Novelli at City Quays and Mamucium.