Hospitality Skills


The hospitality industry is central to Cornwall’s economy, yet suffers low rates of pay and productivity.

Poor understanding of the true value of hospitality skills and jobs and low levels of employer investment in skills, pay and benefits mean employees are often transient, disempowered and disengaged.

In 2015-16 the Cornwall Food Foundation led  the ‘Experts Grow’ project supported by the UKCES UK Futures Programme. A business-led collaboration that looked to share ways of improving the earnings and progression of low paid workers through changes to business practices which deliver clear business benefit in terms of productivity and product quality.

The project built on the existing high-quality business practices in each of the partner businesses, trialling new and alternative ways of improving the earnings and progression of lower paid workers. It developed the hospitality skills toolkit to demonstrate to small hospitality businesses how they can afford to train and progress their staff through returns on such investment. From the business engagement activities it created the Hospitality Skills Network, a group of Cornish businesses committed to investing in their staff, sharing learning and building a stronger momentum to drive forward change.

Hospitality Skills Network

The hospitality skills network is based on the principle that together we (progressive hospitality businesses) can improve the profile and value of the hospitality industry that will both reward the hospitality people and businesses as a whole by:

  • Embedding a culture of continued professional development in their business
  • Growing progression opportunities in the industry
  • Increasing the perceived value of hospitality skills

The key aims of the network are to:

  • Provide businesses with the opportunity to collaborate and share ideas and insights
  • Identify skills for growth for both the individual and the business
  • Attract funding to invest in delivering this

Hospitality Skills Toolkit

A free online business-led toolkit for the hospitality sector. It is a practical guide for helping progressive hospitality businesses grow by investing in their people.

The toolkit is based on five key principles:

  • Strong culture drives business performance; and requires effective leadership and good staff engagement
  • Well-designed standards underpin effective operations and empower your staff
  • Learning and development enable your staff to grow your business
  • Offer people routes for career progression that are clear on expectations, job enrichment and pay
  • Measure what matters to track team and business performance and maximise your return-on-people

Each of these forms one section of the toolkit, with case studies from the three partner employers and practical tools to help businesses put the principles into action.

It is not a comprehensive how-to guide, but a collection of business practices with a practical and incisive approach. The tools include templates, actions plans, self-evaluations and management processes that have delivered genuine benefits to the partner businesses.

Join the network by registering to use the free toolkit