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‘Unlocking Hospitality’ – supporting prison leavers into work

A month-long campaign to support prison leavers into jobs in hospitality saw more than 800 prisoners engage with employers in the sector, with 48 job offers made.

The ‘Unlocking Hospitality’ campaign is run by the New Futures Network, a specialist part of HM Prison and Probation Service, which is responsible for liaising between employers and prison leavers.


Throughout October, more than 40 employers delivered 70 events across 60 prisons. The initial results indicate that over 800 prisoners attended this year and 188 interviews were conducted. These interviews resulted in 48 job offers being made.

Following the success of the campaign, it has been announced that ‘Unlocking Hospitality’ will take place once again next year, from Friday 4 October to Friday 18 October.

800Prisoners attending

188Interviews conducted

48Job offers made

40Employers involved

Our Chief Executive Kate Nicholls also wrote a piece for prison publication ‘Inside Times’ that outlined the benefits of working in hospitality:

Kate Nicholls, CEO, UKHospitality

Kate Nicholls, CEO, UKHospitality

There are few sectors that can offer the variety of roles and the huge opportunities that hospitality can and as a sector it can truly accelerate careers and offer people opportunities they could only dream of.

When you’re talking about careers in hospitality, you’ll often hear people refer to the ‘bar to board’ journey. It may sound like a cliché but it is rooted in reality. The reason it comes up so much is because so many leaders in hospitality businesses started working behind the bar, before becoming a general manager and then moving ever higher through the business.

The reason for that is the sector doesn’t demand a degree or a whole list of qualifications, like many others do. Our businesses want people with a can-do attitude, who will work hard and also enjoy their job. That’s another reason why the sector is so vibrant – it’s full of positive people.

Hospitality stretches much further than the bar too. Of course, pubs and bars make up a really important part of the sector, but hospitality also includes hotels, leisure parks, contract catering, coffee shops, indoor leisure, to name just a few. That means there really is a job for everyone out there.

That variety also allows you to find something that works for you. Hospitality is so popular with a whole breadth of demographics, from students to the over 50s, because it offers such flexibility. If you want to work nights, there are options for you, or if you needed to work during school hours, there are options there too.

With hospitality currently experiencing around 127,000 vacancies in the UK, there are ample opportunities out there and you have a sector that is keen to train and upskill its staff, in order for them to progress quickly.

Hospitality is so synonymous with our culture that it exists everywhere, in towns, cities and villages. With 143,000 businesses, wherever you are, hospitality follows. It’s also a major factor in its economic significance, generating £93 billion to the economy and employing 3.5 million people.

I’m certain there’s a role for everyone in hospitality and we’re a sector that welcomes newcomers with open arms. Come join us!

Kate Nicholls OBEChief Executive, UKHospitality