Plans are being put in place to help tackle a catering skills shortage in the Bradford area.

The National Apprenticeship Service, working in partnership with local colleges and employers, is looking to develop an initiative to attract more people into the sector.

A local steering group has been established to get the initiative off the ground and it hopes to be able to unveil a programme by National Apprenticeship Week in March.

The group, which met recently at Café Lahore in Bradford, which is backing the project, wants to develop ideas with both employers and training providers to make catering and hospitality more attractive.

Mohammed Mayat, NAS local employer accounts manager, said the sector was suffering from an image problem and a potential skills shortage unless it attracted more recruits.

He said: “It’s early days, but we’re looking to bring together schools, colleges, learners and businesses in an initiative that will deliver a series of events to raise the profile of the hospitality sectors, explain what the opportunities are, the training available and employment opportunities. I think many young people are put off working in catering due to the unsociable hours and other factors, but it offers good career prospects for people who want to develop their skills and build a career.”

Meanwhile, the National Apprenticeship Service has announced a trio of initiatives to help Bradford employers and budding apprentices to benefit from National Apprenticeship Week, which is in its seventh year.

NAS has launched an online toolkit which is designed to support local training organisations, employers, schools and potential trainees wanting to get involved in National Apprenticeship Week. It is available at

It is also running a series of communications workshops to help partners promote their National Apprenticeship Week initiatives.

The new official National Apprenticeship Week 2014 promotional t-shirt has been unveiled. Designed by 20-year-old apprentice Rebecca Timson, it depicts a tree with several branches – each one showing the various sectors and career options available to apprentices.

The National Apprenticeship Service is encouraging Bradford employers to organise events and activities under the theme of ‘great apprenticeships’ to show that apprenticeships are great for businesses, personal careers and creating opportunities for both employers and apprentices.

Sue Price, NAS Northern divisional area director, said National Apprenticeship Week was an opportunity to help employers grow their own talent