When I think about what makes me proud about Liverpool, it’s always our people. We are famous around the world for our warmth and friendliness, and I am continually told by visitors how they have been welcomed into the city like one of our own.
It is the people working hard in our hotels, restaurants, events and venues that are our ultimate ambassadors. These are the people who will leave the greatest impression on our visitors long after their holiday has finished and they have returned to home soil.
So when I was approached by City and Guilds to support a pilot that would provide a global skills benchmark for the hospitality industry, I realised there was a real opportunity to create a ‘Liverpool standard’ and was happy to get on board and provide the seed funding for this project.
Our city was the obvious choice. I’m always talking about how we need to do things differently and make bold decisions so we can continue to forge forward. This pilot resonated with our social and economic vision, and sees Liverpool setting the standard for hospitality around the world. This scheme is the first of its kind in the world, and once again, we are leading the way
A lot of people seem to think that a visitor economy happens by accident, but in Liverpool this isn’t the case. From putting on world-class events to growing our hotel sector and creating new venues, we have made a comprehensive and conscious commitment – and it’s paying off.
It’s now the fastest growing part of our economy, generating £4.1 billion and supporting more than 50,000 jobs. It makes absolute sense to invest in the people who are at the heart of the industry and encourage new talent to address the skills shortage.
Above all, I welcome this new scheme because it gives people of this city the opportunity for growth and progression by offering a clear pathway for promotion. There will also be opportunities for pre-entry level employees to gain professional recognition – perhaps for the first time in their lives. For people recovering from a crisis in their life, such as being homeless or recovering from an addiction, they can now start a career with a small experience which can be officially recognised, but ultimately will gain qualifications and a possible route into a job and the hope that can bring.
Here in Liverpool, we have a thriving visitor economy and I want to continue to show how fantastic our city is to the world. Enshrining the ‘Liverpool Standard’ will enable us to retain and develop the talented staff that make our visitor economy so dynamic, as well as allowing employers to futureproof their businesses.