Published date 13 July 2021

Mayor proves the West has the right ingredients for jobs and skills to make serious dough

Dan Norris with others in a kitchen

West of England Mayor Dan Norris rounded off the region’s first Jobs & Skills Summit with visits to support jobs opening up in hospitality.

Dan focused on recovery and reopening; meeting students at Bath College’s Radstock campus and people working in hospitality, including chefs at Bristol’s Breaking Bread, to talk about how they’ve been hit particularly hard by Covid-19.

Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “As our region begins to open up more, we need to support our residents and businesses to overcome the skills challenges they face in the world of work – especially those in our hard-hit hospitality sector.

“It was great to meet people like Tom, Penny and Josh from Breaking Bread and talk about getting the right recipe for the region’s recovery. I know that together we can rise to the challenge.”

Josh Eggleton, Co-founder of Breaking Bread, said: “It has never been more critical to create access routes into the hospitality industry as we are currently facing a staffing crisis. From cheffing to front of house, production to cleaning roles, the eco-system around the West’s thriving restaurants, bars and venues provides opportunities to fit all kinds of working styles from full time to flexible hours, behind the scenes or dealing with customers. We want to encourage people to join our industry and learn from some of the best mentors and innovators in the world right now.”

The Jobs & Skills Summit was a key manifesto pledge from new Metro Mayor, Dan Norris. During the week, the Mayor met over 100 people across the region and heard their views and concerns about jobs and skills opportunities. Dan spoke with students, apprentices, mums and workers whose careers have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

At local projects run by Women’s Work Lab CIC, Seetec Pluss and South Gloucestershire Community Learning, Dan talked with people who are returning to work or getting work-ready, about some of the barriers they have faced. He also met young people developing the skills to tackle the region’s ecological emergency at Windmill Hill City Farm.

The Metro Mayor also announced the launch of a new scheme to help residents improve their digital skills and increase their earning potential through a series of digital bootcamps. The bootcamps are part of a £2m investment by the West of England Combined Authority and will support residents most affected by Covid-19 and at risk of being underrepresented in digital roles. Training has been tailored to remove barriers for specific groups including women, learners with disabilities people who are unemployed, those in low paid work and specific ethnic groups.

Dan added: “It’s been amazing to learn more about the wide range of programmes jobs and skills programmes available in our region – and especially to meet so many inspirational people who have grasped these opportunities to improve their careers and income. But I know that we can do even more to help people who have been hit hard by the pandemic.

“The West of England is well-placed to lead in growing sectors including green energy and digital skills. I’m passionate about ensuring that our residents get the training they need and that our businesses get the skilled workforce that they need to grow.”

Feedback from the Jobs & Skills Summit will help the Metro Mayor and the West of England Combined Authority to develop future support for residents.

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