Mitchells & Butlers and Whitbread are among the companies to partner with People1st on a new scheme aimed at boosting career prospects for low paid workers in the hospitality sector.

The charity has helped secure funding from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) for two UK-wide projects focused on demonstrating career progression opportunities and helping businesses better engage and retain their staff.

M&B and Whitbread will work with People1st along with AccorHotels and Hilton Worldwide to develop and test a benchmarking model, that they hope hospitality employers can use to increase staff retention and help transform career progression for the right candidates.

Simon Tarr, managing director of People 1st, said: “Currently 870,000 of the 993,000 people required by 2022 are to replace existing staff*. The hospitality industry needs to attract and retain staff with the potential to progress – something which, at the moment, is just not happening. As much as the retention and skills deficit needs practical, workable solutions, it also requires partnership, which is why we’re delighted to be working with some leading lights to help affect change.”

Allied to this, Rocco Forte Hotels has secured funding to advance a smartphone app, Map My Future, which will chart all the possible vocational paths beyond an employee’s current role, as well as the requisite training needed for progression. Users can also set career goals, access relevant training content and receive job advice from career coaches 24 hours a day.

Tarr added: “Our Career Map has already proven to be highly beneficial in demonstrating the excellent career pathways available and aiding career planning. We are particularly delighted to be working with Rocco Forte Hotels to make it even more accessible via a mobile app – a particularly important development given the growth of smartphone and tablet use.”

People 1st will be working collaboratively with AccorHotels; Hilton Worldwide; Mitchells & Butlers and Whitbread for the next 18 months to manage the development of the benchmarking model, while the ‘Map My Future’ smartphone app will be available as a white label product to wider hospitality employers.