‘Staffing shortfall largest in hospitality’

Joel Neil, Operations Director of Hospitality Ulster; Leah Dowds, Professional food & beverage student at Belfast MET; Sean Owens, Director of IFEX Salon Culinaire and Caroline McCusker, IFEX Event Manager
Joel Neil, Operations Director of Hospitality Ulster; Leah Dowds, Professional food & beverage student at Belfast MET; Sean Owens, Director of IFEX Salon Culinaire and Caroline McCusker, IFEX Event Manager
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Hospitality has the largest staffing shortfall of all sectors in the UK with a widening skills gap,” according to the director of Salon Culinaire.

Speaking at the launch of IFEX 2020, Sean Owens said that the skills gap is widening.

Mr. Owens was highlighting the importance of IFEX to Northern Ireland’s hospitality sector and the role that it has played in the development of skills within the sector.

IFEX is Northern Ireland’s largest food, drink, hospitality and food service event to be held annually. It will take place from March 24-26 at TEC, Belfast.

IFEX event manager, Caroline McCusker, commented: “IFEX has retained its place as the biggest, most comprehensive tradeshow for the foodservice and hospitality sector – always building and evolving – and we’re extremely proud to deliver an industry event that puts skills at the heart of the show.

“IFEX is on course to become a sell-out event, with 160 sqm of floor space sold to new exhibitors, and with IFEX enjoying a record attendance in 2018, we’ve high hopes for the 2020 event.”

Colin Neill, CEO of Hospitality Ulster, adds: “With Brexit looming, it’s challenging times for the industry and the impact of Brexit could see the skills shortage deepen. This is why now, more than even, we need to upskill and champion our talented young chefs and those within the industry. IFEX puts skills on the map. It’s a show supported by industry and created for industry and it’s heartening to see so many of our biggest players in hospitality and foodservice supporting IFEX 2020.”

IFEX is one of the province’s longest running trade exhibitions which attracts over 200 exhibitors. More than 7,000 visitors are expected during the three day event.

IFEX will showcase some of the best food products that NI has to offer – including a new drinks zone, supported by Hospitality Ulster and the return of the Great Taste Market.

Competition will see more than 250 professional and student chefs compete in over 30 categories including the coveted Chef of the Year title and Street Food International.