Tuesday, 13 July 2021
Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
318. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans to implement measures to address the staff shortage crisis in the hospitality sector; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38021/21]
I recognise that protecting workers and retaining tourism jobs and skills is vital to tourism’s recovery. In September 2020, the Tourism Recovery Taskforce submitted a Recovery Plan to me which sets out a number of recommendations, including a recommendation on enhancing sustainable employment, aimed at helping the tourism sector to survive and recover from the pandemic.
Extending the wage support measures was an important step in assisting tourism businesses with staff retention. Funding of €5 million was also provided to Fáilte Ireland in Budget 2021 for upskilling training and to improve digital presence.
The Tourism & Hospitality Careers Oversight Group (COG), chaired by Fáilte Ireland, is a collaborative approach by stakeholders, including Industry Bodies, Education Providers, Government Departments and State Agencies, to addressing Skills Shortages in the Tourism Sector. The Group is currently finalising a new plan that takes into account recommendations from the Tourism Recovery Taskforce. A feasibility study of the proposed National Tourism Education Gateway has also been initiated. The Careers Oversight Group organised a Recruitment for Reopening Webinar Event at the end of April for tourism and hospitality businesses.
Fáilte Ireland are currently running a social media campaign targeting job seekers. A schedule of targeted content will run through the summer on Fáilte Ireland’s tourism careers website to push the job opportunities available. As part of its suite of Covid 19 business supports, Fáilte Ireland provides HR advice and practical information for businesses. From employee well-being to temporary closures, these tailored supports help focus on restoring stability to businesses and supporting their employees. Fáilte Ireland has also created an extensive range of business supports to support Ireland’s tourism and hospitality businesses to survive, re-open and recover from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
My colleagues, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD and Minister of State for Skills, Niall Collins TD announced two new skills programmes in February to assist hospitality and tourism sectors with COVID-19 challenges. Both programmes are aimed at assisting recovery and growth in the hospitality and tourism sector.
The Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science and Minister of State for Skills also launched an Action Plan for Apprenticeships in April 2021. This is a five year strategy to deliver on the Programme for Government commitment of reaching 10,000 new apprentice registrations per year by 2025.
The Government recognises the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on tourism and hospitality and in the context of the National Economic Recovery Plan will consider further targeted measures to assist these sectors to recover.