People 1st, the sector skills council for hospitality and leisure, has secured £6.8m from the Employer Investment Fund (EIF) to fund a two-year programme to raise standards and skill levels across the industry. The council said the new funding from the EIF, which is run by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), would be invested through six strands. These are helping unemployed people into work; accelerating social mobility; professionalising the industry; achieving economic growth; increasing business investment in skills and reducing wasted public expenditure; and aligning employers and stakeholders to deliver sustained growth through skills. Brian Wisdom, chief executive, said: “Together hospitality, tourism and passenger transport represent one in 10 of the whole of the UK’s workforce. With 20% of employers with vacancies and 32,000 managers required every year, 2012 is the perfect time to demonstrate how our sector can help grow the UK’s economy and find direction for the unemployed like no other sector. “Many employers have already shown their commitment by supporting the bid. I would urge others to join them in a two year push to transform the industry’s image and reputation.”