Bob Cotton, the chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, has been appointed as the chairman of the recently approved National Skills Academy for Hospitality. The hospitality sector was given the go ahead last week to launch a National Skills Academy representing the industry, with the government agreeing to invest £100m in the project. A number of the industry’s main operators, including McDonald’s, Paramount Restaurants, InterContinental Hotels, Premier Inn, Accor, Barcelo and the Compass Group, also agreed to support the initiative financially. The Hospitality Academy approved programmes will be rolled out across cities in the UK through partnerships with companies and further education institutions, which will be given a kitemark to approve qualifications. The current business strategy for the academy is set to go before a steering board within the next month, with the first centres to be unveiled in September. As part of the scheme, the West One Group, a network of central London hotels, has agreed to develop a virtual hotel academy in the capital. Brian Wisdom, chief executive of People 1st, which coordinated the bid, said: “The news is a welcome tonic for our industries which face many competitive pressures. The bid has enjoyed the phenomenal support of a large number of leading employers, responsible for over 20% of the sector’s staff, and we look forward to welcoming the first students as early as this September. “The Academy will deliver talent for hospitality employers - showcasing the very best, and raising the bar by developing world class training. “Rising costs and greater competition for a diminishing young workforce have made life more difficult for our employers, so we are delighted to have secured over £100m of funding for one of our industries. This is a truly massive achievement, and gives us the opportunity to compete with other sectors.”