Industry deserves much more respect

Gillian McKenzie

By Gillian McKenzie

WHILE staying in a hotel in the Highlands recently, the level of service was exceptional.

Chatting to one of the team, I learned he had come to Scotland from the Czech Republic to work in hospitality; he was as passionate and knowledgeable about the local area as he was about the food and drink he was serving; he was pretty much born to work in hospitality.

And yet under the UK government’s proposed new points-based immigration system, he would be considered “low-skilled labour” and would be unlikely to chalk up the requisite 70 points to be able to come here and work from January next year.

The suggestion that he – and thousands like him across Scotland – is considered “cheap, low-skilled labour” is preposterous and, quite frankly, downright insulting.

Investment in training and development across our industry has arguably never been higher; and hospitality staff are knowledgeable and skilled in everything from licensing and food safety legislation, to first aid, to HR, to customer service, to products… the list goes on.

The success of Scotland’s hospitality industry is built on its skilled workforce – from the UK and beyond.

And yet the government is not only proposing to cut off this international pool of talent, which will have dire consequences for businesses, it has shown little respect for our industry’s valued workforce – and the businesses which invest heavily in training and developing that workforce.

Our industry deserves more credit.