Coventry leisure, tourism, hospitality and events businesses offered support to overcome the skills crisis

Businesses in the leisure, tourism, hospitality and events sector in Coventry are being offered support to overcome one of the biggest hurdles to growth.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce is working with Coventry City Council and Destination Coventry to help everything from hotels, restaurants and event venues through to suppliers in the sector with the skills and recruitment crisis.

The industry in the city is crying out for more people to join after so many left during the Covid-19 crisis and it is proving to be a serious barrier to growth.

Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and Destination Coventry is organising a breakfast summit on December 1 that will see a panel of experts offering their take on the crisis and solutions to it.

Throughout November the Chamber will take soundings from businesses in the sector to find out the issues they are facing and will offer one-to-one help and signposting to the relevant support available. It is also keen for businesses in the sector to come forward, get involved, and air their views.

That work will be led by business consultant Chris Hartley, who has been working with businesses in the sector on overcoming the Covid crisis in recent months.

He will also run an online workshop to give businesses the chance to speak to experts and offer support.

The support programme is being delivered by Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce through the Coventry Creative Growth & Cultural Tourism Recovery Programme, which is funded by the UK Government’s Community Renewal Fund, through the West Midlands Combined Authority.

Corin Crane, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The region’s hospitality and tourism sector has never had so much attention – from the Commonwealth Games to the City of Culture people across the UK and abroad are looking at Coventry as a place they want to visit and explore. The city is buzzing with residents, students, tourists and employees from our very smart businesses.

“However, the hard to fill vacancies across the sector are hitting critical levels. Opening hours are being reduced, bookings are being turned down and experienced workers have not returned after Covid lockdowns.

“We need a fresh approach to this issue – raising the profile of the sector with young people, supporting businesses to take flexible approaches to recruitment and shift patterns and bringing older workers back into the industry and engaging in this vibrant and exciting sector.

“We are delighted to be working, once again, with Coventry City Council and Destination Coventry to deliver this support and to ensure the issue continues to be firmly on the radar and that we continue to find solutions with businesses.

“It will offer a real mix of help and we’d urge businesses that work directly in the sector and also those who supply to it to get in touch and make the most of the help on offer.”

Paul Jones, managing director of Destination Coventry, said: “It is vitally important that we change perceptions of what it is to work in hospitality, not only to encourage more young people to work in the sector but also give incentives for older workers to transfer their skills to the industry.

“Collaboration is crucial to ensure that businesses have the tools and knowledge required to make this happen.

“From our conversations with businesses across the sector we know that recruitment is right at the top of their agenda, and we are pleased to be working with our partners to bring forward this new support.”

For more information on the breakfast event, the support available and how hospitality businesses can get involved, go to