Visitor Economy Task Group minutes: 18 November 2021

Meeting details

Date: Thursday 18 November 2021

Time: 10.30am to 12.30pm

Location: Microsoft Teams

See the list of attendees and apologies for this meeting.


Action points from previous minutes

Action 1

  • Description: Link up with Careers Hub to promote programmes to schools
  • Lead: CB, GE, AM
  • Due by/status: Introductions have been made and this is ongoing

Action 2

  • Description: Catch up about events and linking with Hospitality Rocks
  • Lead: RF, SBu, SBe, CB, VP
  • Due by/status: Hospitality Rocks promotion scheme has been extended

Action points from this meeting

Action 1

  • Description: Data on Hospitality Rocks programmes to go out with the minutes or be available for next meeting
  • Lead: EW, SBe
  • Due by/status: January 2022

Action 2

  • Description: Hospitality Rocks Media pack to be sent out with the minutes
  • Lead: EW, SBe
  • Due by/status: January 2022

Action 3

  • Description: Follow up with Dr Ioannis Pantelidis about Hotel of Excellence
  • Lead: CB, BG
  • Due by/status: January 2022

Action 4

  • Description: CB asked for volunteers for a working group to develop the action plan, contact JB and SBu
  • Lead: CB, JB, SBu
  • Due by/status: End December 2021/Early January 2022

Action 5 

  • Description: Anyone able to help develop Maths Resources with ideas and scenarios showing how Maths is used in their businesses contact the Careers Hub.
  • Lead: RFr
  • Due by/status: ASAP

Welcome and minutes of last meeting

JB opened the meeting and asked for feedback on the minutes of 17 August 2021.

SBe confirmed Hospitality Rocks activities are still happening, ER adding that various courses are running with good feedback. JB requested data, SBe confirmed collating figures is in hand and will be available by the end of November. SBu advised that Hospitality Rocks DWP own the brand and could be extended to any further promotional work for the sector. RFr asked about whether the campaign is being promoted in schools. SBe advised that DWP are recruiting schools’ advisors so can do so in the future

Action 1

Data on Hospitality Rocks programmes to go out with these minutes or be available for next meeting – ER, SBe.

Action 2

Hospitality Rocks Media pack to go out with the minutes – ER, SBe

BG said Springboard are looking to extend their Springboard Careers Hub model in England. RFr clarified that Springboard Careers Hub terminology similar to East Sussex Careers Hub, but a different model to promote the sector. CB offered to support BG with information for funding bids to support an initiative in East Sussex.

Cllr T updated on the Hotel of Excellence project with University of Brighton. It is currently at the View Hotel and Devonshire Quarter, Eastbourne in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce: students get direct experience to consider hospitality as a career. IP is involved in this initiative but unable to attend today.

Action 3

Follow up with Dr Ioannis Pantelidis about Hotel of Excellence - CB, BG.

New Skills East Sussex priorities

CB presented the main priorities for Skills East Sussex for 2021 to 2030 which have been in consultation with task groups, including the Visitor Economy.

The Skills East Sussex Board consists of a variety of agencies working together to set priorities. Key sector task groups are focused on addressing skills shortages in their sector. Principles of the SES priorities are putting employers at the heart of what we do; working towards above average skills and East Sussex gaining a reputation as a place that skills are invested in and careers develop. We need to get both teachers and young people to understand the labour market and where the opportunities are in the Visitor Economy.

The 6 priorities identified for 2021 to 2030: 

  1. Ensuring national policy and funding does support the delivery of learning and skills in East Sussex
  2. Enabling our FE and HE establishments to recruit excellent educators with specialist technical knowledge.
  3. Improving our digital skills and digital inclusion
  4. Upskilling our workforce to increase regional productivity
  5. Supporting the unemployed and unqualified
  6. Skills for a Net Zero Future

Aim is to draw up an action plan for Visitor Economy and the other sector task groups. Discussion on how to address these priorities and what practical steps can be taken.

PS –the sector has a poor employer image with issues around pay, hours and shift patterns. JB noted that split shifts may suit some, but employers could be more creative by offering 2 part-time posts for example. Weekend and evening working is inevitable but not necessarily as off-putting as some may think as occurs in other sectors, too.

SBu – asked about communication and how we present the sector and influence people (and the influencers) to seek jobs in hospitality and tourism. Myth-busting needs to be addressed. CB agreed and core message that it is a sector one can progress quickly in.

JB – queried if pay concerns do impact available educators for this sector, as experienced teachers’ pay compares favourably with many Visitor Economy salaries, and the hours may be preferable. SBu responded, with his former East Sussex College Group ‘hat’ on that it would be good to lobby for there to be teaching staff who do the OFSTED/administration and other elements with another person coming in to deliver the practical skills.

Action 4

CB asked for volunteers for a working group to develop the action plan –contact JB and SBu

Moving on Up Programme

FC – introduced ESTAR, a project that sits within Skills East Sussex, focussing on employability for people living in supported or temporary accommodation and refuges. Moving on Up supports individuals into apprenticeship and jobs with training. 58 referrals so far with a talent pool of individuals looking to apply for positions with mentor support and financial incentives to help with accommodation, travel, childcare and other in work costs. DW confirmed that it is a very flexible package, tailored to individual needs. Meets priority 5 of supporting the unemployed and unqualified. Many candidates at level 2 or below so the hope is to upskill and increase prospects.

Moving on Up SCTP is looking for employers with live vacancies or expected vacancies in the future. The referral process is very simple. An employer grant of £4,000 is payable and there is access to a £3,000 government incentive, but the scheme is due to end at end of March 2022.

Careers Hub update

KB – highlighted the work with businesses in this sector to create films with the De La Warr, the Mermaid Inn and Rathfinny Wine Estate. The films are primarily aimed at students who may have barriers to accessing education and are looking to go straight into work, and explore roles within these businesses and employers talking about their careers pathways.  

RFr – updated on Friday 3 December 09:30 to 10:30 the Careers Hub is hosting an Industry Champion virtual event. This is a chance for professionals to hear about volunteering opportunities in East Sussex schools and colleges. The event will also include information from SCTP's 'Transform' service providing free support for businesses to access apprenticeships and skills. By taking part in careers education activities in schools and colleges you can help young people to take their best next steps, give your staff valuable CPD and raise your organisation’s profile in the community.

The Careers Hub are recruiting volunteer enterprise advisers (EA) for St Leonards Academy, Crowborough, Rye, Seaford and some of the special schools. The EA role work strategically with a matched school to support them to improve their careers provision, link with the world of work, introduce the school to contacts in their network, so that the school can invite people into school to talk with students about their careers journeys, or to host small groups of students on tours of their business.

The Careers Hub is developing resources to embed careers in the Maths curriculum and is looking for employers who frequently use maths as part of their job to be included within this resource.

For further information about all of the above, please contact Enterprise coordinator.

Action 5

Anyone able to help with maths resources contact RFr

Partner updates

JB noted that some partner updates were covered at the start of the meeting.

JC – reminded everyone that the National Careers Service is available for all adults 19 plus and 18-year-olds who are not in employment, education or training, and they are taking on-board meeting comments and suggestions.

Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) consultation session

This section was presented by RiF on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce.

Key points covered:

Today is one of a number of consultation and listening exercises across Sussex to form Sussex’s response (due in March 2022) to the Government Skills for Jobs White Paper published in January 2021. LSIP unifies East and West Sussex and Brighton and Hove around the skills improvement strategy. 8 business-led (Sussex Chamber of Commerce) LSIP Trailblazers were announced in July, of which Sussex is one. The plan will be written by businesses in partnership with educational organisations, local authorities and the voluntary sector.

The plan is to be sent to DfE for consideration and will make the case for why skills and economic growth are intertwined.  As one of only 8 areas that are being looked at in the first instance, Sussex will have a direct line to DfE and potentially significant funding. 

Recognised that Covid has affected the short and long-term labour market. It has had a significant impact on the Visitor Economy with enforced closures and limits on travel. 

Discussion covered challenges and opportunities particular to Sussex. These included the poor public transport links, especially at evenings and weekends and in rural areas. Key issues are, or have been:

  • fewer job applications from EU nationals and students (Brexit impact)
  • higher staff shortages
  • high turnover in Visitor Economy jobs
  • digital transformation work to help digital economy adapt to change
  • lobbying for funding

and in relation to the Covid pandemic:

  • high proportion of arts and entertainment workers furloughed
  • funding and support for creative freelancers to get back into work
  • how to the support self-employed

SS felt that a pan-Sussex approach to promote tourism (especially international) is the right one, but this needs to be in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way.

The lack of affordable housing and transport are key factors. Visitors and the growth of holiday rentals can price out those needing to live near work. Funding for transport or driving lesson subsidies should be considered.

SD raised that many people leave jobs as they were poorly recruited in the first place. SBe agreed that many employers need support to recruit effectively.  

The sector needs to be seen as a career, not low skill/low pay or only a holiday job – there are good graduate opportunities within it. Work experience is key and poor treatment when younger in weekend or holiday jobs will put off interest later. Opportunities to try different experiences and supporting the transition from education to employment in new ways need to be explored. Noted that arranging work experience can be bureaucratic due to potential safety risks. Older people with transferable skills such as customer service need to be considered for training, too.

University presence moving out of Hastings and Eastbourne was highlighted as a problem by JB. Not just the potential impact on local aspirations and opportunities but student workforce and contribution to the local economy significantly as well.

Positive developments are the award of £7m from the Strategic Development Fund to colleges across Sussex. This is mainly to develop skills in sustainable industries.

Also, the £1m of Community Renewal Funding for Sussex Modern (which brings together art, landscape and wine across cultural venues and visitor attractions). The opportunities to work in the growing local wine industry should not be overlooked. 1066 Country has initiatives linked to this.  

Other things that are working well are Kickstart – to support young people into work and training and Transform – to support employers to recruit and support apprentices.

RiF – Thanked everyone for their contributions.  Next phase will be in January, analysis and pulling together the document for submission by the end of February, beginning of March.  Any contributions or for more information email the Chamber of Commerce.

CB- for those wishing to join a working group or attend future Task Groups, contact Skills East Sussex

AOB (any other business)


Meeting ended.

Date of next meeting

Date: 1 March 2022 

Times: 2pm to 3.30pm

Venue: MS Teams

Attendees and apologies


  • JB, Julie Barker, Group Chair
  • BG, Bryan Grierson, Operations Director, Springboard Charity
  • CB, Caroline Bragg, Employability and Skills Strategy Manager, ESCC
  • CllrT, Clr David Tutt, Leader of Eastbourne Borough Council
  • DJ, David Jones, NCFE (National Council for Further Education)
  • DW, Dan Wallman, Employer Engagement, SCTP (Sussex Council of Training Providers)
  • ER, Elaine Remon, Employability Operations Manager, East Sussex College Group
  • FC, Florence Cape, Employment Co-ordinator, ESTAR ESCC
  • GM, Georgina Mallinson, Rathfinny Wine Estate
  • JC, Jackie Church, Regional Manager, National Careers Service
  • JT, Jeremy Taylor, Director, The Company Connector
  • JW, Jo Williams, Manager, Experience West Sussex – West Sussex County Council
  • KBo, Kevin Boorman, Manager, 1066 Country Marketing – Hastings Borough Council
  • Kbu, Kimberley Bulgin, Project Officer, East Sussex Careers Hub (ESCC)
  • Kba, Katherine Ball, Employer Engagement Consultant Rewards, Training
  • Kbe, Karra Brenchley, Partnership Manager, DWP
  • KL, Kelly Long, Job Centre Employment Lead Newhaven, Lewes, Brighton & Hove, DWP
  • MB, Martin Blincow, Owner, The Mermaid Inn at Rye
  • MP, Melanie Powell, Regeneration Officer, Rother District Council
  • PS, Penny Shearer, Business Development Coordinator, East Sussex College Group
  • RiF, Richard Freeman, Always Possible
  • RFr, Ruth Francis, Enterprise Coordinator, East Sussex Careers Hub (ESCC)
  • SBe, Steve Benwell, Senior Partnership Manager DWP
  • SBu, Stephen Burkes, Employability and Skills Project Manager, ESCC
  • SD, Stewart Drew, CEO De La Warr Pavilion, Chair 1066 Country of Origin
  • SS, Sally Staples, Cultural Strategy Manager, ESCC
  • VP, Vanessa Potter, SCTP (Sussex Council of Training Providers)


  • SG, Sue Gothard, Clerk, ESCC Skills and Employment Strategy
  • DM, Donnalyn Morris, Project Officer, ESCC Skills and Employment Strategy


  • BB, Bridget Baker, Freelance
  • DC, Debbie Cole, Bexhill College
  • DT, Daniel Thompson, Plumpton Racecourse
  • DK, Duncan Kerr, Wave Leisure
  • IP, Dr Ioannis Pantelidis, University of Brighton
  • JG, Jane Geering, Institute of Hospitality
  • JB, Juliette Bridges, Knockhatch
  • JW, James Woodward, Drusillas
  • RM, Rose Miller, University of Brighton