QUICK-FIRE courses have been set up at the Isle of Wight College, to help get young people into the hospitality industry.

The intensive training is seen as one way to solve the staffing crisis that has beset the industry since the Covid pandemic and Brexit changes meant many people left hospitality to work elsewhere.

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The shortfall in staff has led to a lack of chefs and experienced workers for kitchens across the Island, as previously reported by the County Press.

Many venues have had to reduce their offerings and their opening hours, due to lack of staff.

It led Inns of Distinction, which has four pubs, to launch a charter to entice people into the industry, and call out for solutions to get people interested in working in pubs, restaurants and hotels.

Now, a taskforce has been set up to get people trained at ground-roots level.

An Isle of Wight College spokesperson said: "Due to staff shortages in the hospitality sector, the Isle of Wight Council is working with Visit Isle of Wight, The Isle of Wight College and Island employers to run short training courses in hospitality skills.

"The courses supported those people who would like to work in the hospitality sector, but need to gain some skills.

"There are many vacancies available on the Island at the moment so we hope that this will help. There has been an extremely enthusiastic response which is good news."

The courses were free and covered a wide range of skills over four to five days, including customer service, working in a kitchen under pressure, barista skills, basic food prep, CV writing and interview skills.

It also included getting a hygiene certificate.

The County Press spoke to Paul Buckland, head of hospitality at the college, who has been a lecturer in hospitality for 24 years and is a chef by trade.

He said: "Six out of ten students have ended up with jobs straightaway and that's fantastic, that's why we are here. We are tied in with JobCentre Plus and Isle of Wight Jobs, and the whole idea is to give lots of support to get people into jobs afterwards.

"Visit IW will be talking to people in other parts of the country to see if they want to do it too. It didn't take us long to get it off the ground so it could be rolled out easily.

"It looks like this could be a rolling programme for us and we have the capacity to meet the demand.

"Hospitality would suit a lot of people — those with customer service skills for example.

"The industry is looking at increasing salaries, and looking at working conditions. I'm a chef by trade and I have had a great career out of it, it's one of the best jobs there is."

More courses are planned for the future, and there are opportunities for companies to channel staff through bespoke courses to suit their specific needs.

Contact the college for further details or to register your interest. Find out more at iwcollege.ac.uk