Visitor Economy Task Group


Business, employment and coronavirus
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There are huge challenges in this sector in East Sussex related to recruitment and skills. In the years leading up to the Covid-19 lockdown the Task Group, comprising employers and education professionals from organisations such as Drusillas, the Hydro Hotel, and the University of Brighton, was addressing the severe lack of Chefs, Hospitality managers and other skill shortages. In the post Covid-19 world there will be additional challenges, not least an economic recession and possible continuation of social distancing making it very difficult for many hospitality venues to thrive.

In the last year the Task Group undertook the following;

  • Certain Task Group members helped to establish the View Hotel in Eastbourne as a “Hotel of Excellence”. The View will provide long-term placements for students at the University of Brighton, and five 50-day placements for East Sussex College group students, as part of their new T-level provision.
  • In November 2019 students and staff from the University of Brighton ran an Open Doors (work place visit) session at the View Hotel for a party of secondary school pupils. The pupils were given a number of work related tasks and some pupils enjoyed it so much that they want to find out more about careers in the sector.
  • In March 2020 some members of the Task Group met on line with similar colleagues from Kent to share good practice and plan a joint conference to encourage more employers to join the Task Group. It is these collaborative and strategic forums that will help the sector address the many challenges it is facing.

For the East Sussex Careers Campaign 2020–22 the Task Group have highlighted the following roles within their sector for promotion:

  • Chef
  • Hotel & Restaurant Managers
Julie Barker
Julie Barker

Chair of Visitor Economy Task Group, Julie Barker, MIoD, FIH, PGcert

A breadth of experience to Board and Chair level within a 30-year award winning career covering every aspect of the hospitality industry. A specialist in stakeholder engagement with direct experience of leading large multi-disciplinary teams and interfacing with complex client bodies (often within a sensitive local political and social environment), national and regional organisations and institutions. A qualified chef, a total foodie, tenacious and a passionate advocate of the industry, and encouraging youth and new talent to choose the hospitality industry as a ‘career of choice’. An independent consultant specialising in public and third sector service delivery, working on both a consultancy, NED and interim leadership basis.

Visitor Economy Task Group meetings

Please find below the minutes of the last five meetings;

1. 20th May 2020 through Microsoft Teams – minutes

2. 12th March 2020 at the Culinary Arts Studio at the University of Brighton – minutes

3. 11th December 2019 at the Culinary Arts Studio at the University of Brighton – minutes

4. 12th September 2019 at the Eastbourne campus of the East Sussex College Group – minutes

5. 14th March 2019, County Hall, Lewes – minutes