Visitor Economy Minutes 8 November 2022

Visitor Economy Minutes 8 November 2022

Meeting details

Visitor Economy Task Group

8th November 2022 –15:00 - 16:30

Meeting held remotely via MS Teams

Attendees and apologies



Role, Organisation


Julie Barker

Independent Consultant, Task Group CHAIR


Caroline Bragg

Employability and Skills Strategy Manager, ESCC


Cllr David Tutt

Eastbourne Borough & Lewes District Councils


Dan Wallman [part]

Consultant, Local Skills Improvement Plan


Henry Clayson

Project Assistant, East Sussex Careers Hub


Kevin Boorman

1066 Marketing, Hastings Borough Council


Kimberley Bulgin

Project Co-ordinator Cultural Team, ESCC


Lisa Nicolaides

Regional Manager, CXK (National Careers Service)


Martin Blincow [part]

Mermaid Inn Rye


Melanie Powell

Regeneration, Rother District Council


Sally Staples


Cultural Strategy Manager, ESCC and Co-Chair Creative & Digital Media Task Group


Vanessa Potter

SCTP, Executive Director



Matthew Williamson

Institute of Employment Studies




Anna Salmon

Eastbourne & Lewes Councils


Charlotte Hailey-Watts

Ditchling Museum of Arts and Crafts


Elaine Remon

Employability Operations Manager, ESCG


Jack Scott

Enterprise Co-ordinator SEND, East Sussex Careers Hub


Kori Cox

Employer Engagement Lead, Steps to Work ASCH


Steve Benwell

Senior Partnership Manager Surrey & Sussex, DWP


Stewart Drew

Director & CEO, De La Warr Pavilion


Sara Taylor

Eastbourne & Lewes Councils




Donnalyn Morris

Employability and Skills Project Officer, ESCC


Stephen Burkes

Employability and Skills Project Manager, ESCC

Actions arising from this meeting

Actions arising this meeting, 8th November 2022




1)    Feedback from January Hotel of Excellence Board at next meeting


Next meeting – Feb 2023

2)    Encourage future funds to have similar levels of flexibility where possible

SBu/CB via SES Board

March 2023

3)    Add DW to mailing list for this group


10th November 2022

Welcome, Introductions and Apologies

  1. JB welcomed all to the meeting, noting MW is attending again following his summer visit.

Review of Previous Minutes and Actions

  1. Actions from meeting of 22nd September 2022




1)      Consider a flyer summarising the work of the task groups which could promote further employer participation


30th November 2022

2)    Draft letter to go from SES requesting specific apprenticeship employee status information be made available


January 2023 TBC

3)    Contact Team Domenica and for more information on recruitment



4)    Send in ideas for engaging activities for jobs fair at the Beacon


30th November 2022


  1. The minutes were agreed as a fair and accurate record.


  1. Regarding action one: The Secretariat currently have work underway updating task group and sector information. Would like to consult with the groups on promotional material so likely to be completed after December 2022.


  1. Regarding action two: SBu advised that this is around apprenticeship data not showing whether apprentices are new workers or current staff upskilling. This is of interest to all the sector and working groups. It is important to lobby the right person(s) so best to wait until new year when national government is more settled.


  1. Action three is for members to make contact as per their needs and interests. Completed.


  1. Regarding action four: SBu explained that timescales had meant the proposed hospitality event was made a retail one. Keenness remains to have a hospitality event, but this will not be in the run up to Christmas. To bring back to the group next year.


Hotel of Excellence Update

  1. DM gave the update provided by AS and ST.


  1. Activity supporting the pilot phase is that from the September Hospitality Rocks programme attended the tour of the hotel and were offered work trials.
  • 1 trial led to an employment offer in housekeeping
  • 1 trial is pending
  • 1 trial attendee was not able to work the hours offered for the role.


  1. Following a request from the Restart programme a further Hospitality Rocks programme planned for November 2022. A hospitality speed dating recruitment event will take place at the East Sussex College Group Eastbourne/Hampden Park campus on 16 November 2022.


  1. An evaluation will be carried out at the end of the 2022/23 academic year and Skills East Sussex updated on that.


  1. CllrT added that the scope of the board is being extended. The View hotel and the Winter Gardens in Eastbourne will be at the Board meeting in January.


ACTION 1: Feedback from January Hotel of Excellence Board at next meeting – CllrT/CB

Moving on Up Update

  1. VP gave an update on this innovative project. Having started as a supported apprenticeship the scope became broader around helping those who are homeless/at risk of homelessness to secure jobs with prospects/training. It is about the change that can be made through sustainable work into permanent housing. Because homelessness can be the result of a wide range of issues including types of abuse, clients often have complex needs and lack confidence.


  1. Self-referrals are not allowed due to eligibility checks required. SCDA (Sussex Community Development Association) are the main referrals partner. SCTP, ESCG, Confidence Box and People Matter all deliver aspects from confidence building workshops to employer engagement, employer SWAPS (Sector-based Work Academy Programmes), job-matching and careers advice. The project is under East Sussex County Council’s Estar team who are part of the wider skills and employability team that includes SES (Skills East Sussex).


  1. Confirmed that National Careers Service funding covers refugees.


  1. Employer testimony includes “Moving on Up has provided us with a tangible means of supporting the community.” A participant who gained an apprenticeship and recently moved into a studio flat said, “I am happier in myself and now have a purpose to get up in the morning”. Importantly, the person also said “I was given the confidence to concentrate on myself which I have done” “and this is where I am now.”


  1. Latest figures at the time of the meeting:
  • Referrals received – 258
  • Job starts - 28
  • Access rental incentive/move into permanent accommodation – 5


  1. A number of positions have been secured in retail, restaurants and hotels. There is an inevitable lag in securing rentals as landlords wish to see security through time in a job and obtain references. The project is on target to meet 50 people moving into employment and permanent accommodation.


  1. The wraparound support provided has been key. It is the flexible use the COMF (Covid Outbreak Management Fund which came from public health) has been allowed to operate in that has led to success in having a holistic look at supporting those experiencing homelessness.


ACTION 2: Encourage future funds to have similar levels of flexibility where possible – SBu/CB via SES Board


[MP and SS joined around this time]

Institute of Employment Studies – Future Skills Survey

  1. MW advised the survey commissioned by East Sussex County Council is currently ‘live’. He is presenting initial data and conducting some qualitative data gathering through discussions with the group.


  1. Discussions concentrated on five key topics. Key points raised below:


Net Zero:

  • Utility use and costs figured highly.
  • Waste, particularly single use plastics was cited. KB advised that recyclable/reusable/compostable cutlery can be mandated at council run events, but it is not easy to insist on this when others use land.
  • Traffic congestion is a major issue, especially around beaches. People would like to use public transport if available. Hastings Fish Festival footfall was down 40% on day one as its first day fell on a train strike day.
  • ‘Green washing’ and how to compare and count carbon reduction and carbon impact.

[DW joined around this time]


New Technology

  • The irony of the use of AI (Artificial Intelligence) was noted in a ‘people’ industry. Felt that ‘soft’ skills of emotional intelligence will come to the fore, and that many humans like human contact and socialise for this.
  • Expected increases in use of 360˚for experiences/previews of what is on offer and AI use in pricing.
  • Concern that there is some digital exclusion for those who cannot book online, use e-tickets.
  • Changes in roles, particularly around security (physical and cyber).


Cost of Living Crisis

  • Customers have reduced disposable income. CllrT reported that in May 2021 Christmas bookings were full, not yet so in November 2022. Decreased visitor spend – profits made to June 2022 were wiped out in July and August for some sites.
  • JBa stated that utilities can count for around 28% of costs, and KB spoke of two restaurant closures due to utility costs. The warm weather led to many attractions being quieter in the summer as people went to the beach for free.


Covid pandemic and Brexit

  • Conference economy has fallen away. Attendance is far better online and involves less time away from work. Face to face events incur more costs and time commitment. Some events are hybrid and skills are needed to manage the technology for this.
  • Many businesses had relied on EU staff.
  • Supply chain issues are significant.
  • Changes in visa regulations came in from 1st January 2020. This has led to a huge fall (95%) in language school students in Hastings, and will be similar in Eastbourne. Host families as well as local shops, restaurants and attractions are impacted.


Future gazing

  • Many people in the sector are turning to roles that can be done from home, saving travel costs and time. Post pandemic and Brexit, they are also less inclined to work weekends and evenings. Such hours do suit some people, especially students, those wanting a second income and some with caring responsibilities.
  • At some stages in life/career, people wish to bond with colleagues and learn from them. They also find a workplace preferable at times to home. This tends to be true of younger people (under 30). This is not always an option even if people want it.
  • Businesses need to focus on diversifying revenue streams.
  • There is too much uncertainty globally and regarding the current government’s economic plans to make predictions. Downturns often lead to an exodus from the sector and the skills shortage is then masked. When the industry recovers, there are not enough skilled staff around.


  1. DW advised that the next stage of the LSIP (Local Skills Improvement Plan) will be looking at the creative and cultural sector. The ‘deep dive’ will have data provided by the SELEP (South East Local Enterprise Partnership) and he will conduct qualitative discussions.


ACTION 3: Add DW to mailing list for this group – DM


  1. JBa advised that the group name will change going forward to ‘Visitor and Cultural Economy’. CB advised this fitted more with the group’s original remit. SBu explained that this will match potential marketing material. Roles such as front of house, event management, would sit with cultural and visitor attraction, with links to creative and performing and production with the group covering the creative sector.


Date of Next Meeting


  1. Thursday 9th February 10:00-11:30, MS Teams invite to follow.


  1. Future meetings to remain online unless there is a demand for otherwise. Meetings for subsequent quarters likely to be in April/May, September and December.