For Oral Answer on : 24/02/2022
Question Number(s): 29 Question Reference(s): 10406/22
Department: Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Tourism; Culture; Arts; Gaeltacht; Sport and Media if she will report on the engagement she and her Department have had with regard to the training and skills needs of the tourism sector; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
Recruitment continues to be a significant challenge for the tourism sector, with up to two-thirds of businesses reporting reduced capacity due to staff shortages. My Department and Fáilte Ireland have been collaborating with industry and other Government Departments to ensure that there is a coordinated approach to addressing the labour and skills shortages.
Fáilte Ireland has recently published its most comprehensive research to date on the tourism and hospitality labour market. This robust and wide-ranging research programme covers the views of 1,000 employers and 3,500 workers with tourism and hospitality experience as well as international benchmarking, a review of education provision and consultation with recruitment agencies. This research is shaping Fáilte Ireland’s work programmes for the year ahead which will focus on:
- Supporting recruitment to drive recovery: to provide support to the industry to address the immediate labour and skills supply challenges, which will be critical to the short-medium term recovery of the sector.
- Supporting the long-term repositioning of the industry: to support businesses and the wider industry to work together to drive the long-term repositioning of the industry as an appealing and rewarding career choice and workplace, and ensure a future pipeline of talent.
- Building employee capability and skills: to build the capability of individual employees to help businesses to bridge the skills gaps they are experiencing and also drive greater employee retention by improving the quality of training across the business.
Fáilte Ireland also chairs the Tourism and Hospitality Careers Oversight Group (COG) which will continue to work closely with industry bodies, education providers and other Government bodies to support sustainable employment in the tourism sector with an immediate focus on recruitment and retention initiatives, as well as focusing on the long-term repositioning of the industry as a career choice. My Department and the Department of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology are represented on the COG.
Officials from my Department also participate in the Interdepartmental Group on Work Permits chaired by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. Most recently the work of the Group resulted in up to 350 work permits being granted for managerial positions in certain tourism and hospitality businesses. Last year, my Department also successfully advocated for the prioritisation of chef permit applications. I have also recently worked with Minister Donohoe on the extension of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme. I will continue to engage with and provide support to the tourism sector through these challenging times.