Visitor Economy Minutes 9 February 2023

Visitor Economy Minutes 9 February 2023

Meeting details

Visitor and Cultural Economy Task Group Meeting Minutes

Held on Thursday 9th February 2023, 10:00-11:30

Online only

Attendees and apologies



Organisation and Role



Julie Barker

Task Group CHAIR, Independent Consultant


Councillor Christine Bayliss

Rother District Council, Economic Development and Regeneration Lead,


Caroline Bragg

East Sussex County Council, Employability and Skills Strategy Manager


Catherine Clifford

Eastbourne Hospitality Association, Association Management Team


Henry Clayson [part]

East Sussex Careers Hub, Project Assistant


Christina Ewbank

Eastbourne Chamber of Commerce, Chief Executive


Alex Green

DWP, Service Leader East Sussex


Heather Green

DWP, Employer Adviser Lead Coastal East


Jane Kilby [part]

Wealden District Council, Economic Development & Tourism


Lisa Nicolaides

CXK (National Careers Service), Regional Manager


Andrew Pritchard

Bexhill College, Assistant Principal


Dan Wallman

LSIP, Stakeholder Engagement Lead for Visitor, Cultural, Hospitality & Arts



Donnalyn Morris

East Sussex County Council, Employability and Skills Project Officer


Stephen Burkes

East Sussex County Council, Employability and Skills Project Manager



Kevin Boorman

Hastings Borough Council, 1066 Marketing


Debbie Cole

Bexhill College, Head of Social Sciences


Yvette Cowderoy

Eastbourne Hospitality Association, Association Management Team


Kori Cox

Steps to Work ASCHEmployer Engagement Lead,


Stewart Drew

De La Warr Pavilion, Director & CEO


Sally Staples

East Sussex Cultural Strategy Manager and Co-Chair Creative & Digital Media Task Group


Vanessa Potter

Sussex Council of Training Providers (SCTP), Chief Executive


Melanie Potter

Rother District Council, Principal Regeneration Officer

Actions arising from this meeting

Actions arising at this meeting, 9th February 2023




1)    Add innovation fund to the Adult Learning Network agenda


23 February 2023

2)    Look at and consider linking recruitment campaigns to UK Hospitality’s national Hospitality Rising Careers campaign.


On-going during campaign

3)    Meet with sector employers on the work experience offer provided and co-ordinate offers

Eastbourne Hospitality Association

By 30 June 2023. On-going

4)    Contact the Careers Hub to raise awareness of and engagement in the sector with schools and colleges


On-going for events and roles

5)    Share jobs fair information with Skills East Sussex


10 Feb 2023. On-going

6)    Share jobs fair information with

Task groups


17 Feb 2023. On-going

1) Welcome (new members)

JBa asked for introductions as there were a number of new faces. AP was welcomed to his first meeting of this task group, he has been at others on behalf of Bexhill College. CC were welcomed to the group also. CllrBa had come to present and has joined the group. AG attends the Skills East Sussex Board and was there to support DWP colleagues.

Apologies received noted.

2) Review of previous minutes and actions

The minutes were agreed.


JBa went through the actions.

CllrT advised that the Hotel of Excellence is still in its trial phase. An update will be given after the end of the academic year, so due at the September meeting. DWa has been added to the membership list for the group. SBu advised that work is underway regarding a funding extension for Moving On Up.

JBa raised outstanding actions from the September meeting regarding apprenticeship data. SBu explained that currently apprenticeship data capture gives the age of a starter. It does not show if the person is new in role or an existing employee. This is something Skills East Sussex would like greater transparency on. DfE (Department for Education) need to set up systems, so it is collected and available.

3) Cooking up Community Skills

CllrBa gave background to this item. As the sector is aware, many bars and restaurants have not been able to return to pre-pandemic business hours. Scaling back production is not the option it would be for some businesses with reduced staff. No staff means having to close. This impacts hoteliers also.


At ESCG (East Sussex College Group) there are fewer leavers in catering courses than before. AP advised there are declining numbers for travel and tourism and catering at Bexhill.

CllrBa spoke with businesses about a collective approach to training. She had a useful meeting with SBu and became acutely aware that others are experiencing the same issue and having similar ideas. This has culminated in an event on 27 February in partnership with Southern Housing (previously Optivo) and DWP/Restart.

SBu continued that it is often perceived there is not a training offer. Training is out there. It is what else is holding people back from hospitality that needs to be identified. A co-ordinated response is required. The event wants to bring stakeholders together to:

  • Identify the roles required
  • The skills, knowledge and behaviours the roles require
  • Support employers to understand and engage with the training landscape.

There is also a need to consider potential applicants to the sector. The ‘under employed’, those ‘not earning enough’ on Universal Credit and long term unemployed; the college leavers not going into the industry despite doing the training, and those aged 50-plus who have left paid work.

JBa raised that some employers do not see the potential of some cohorts.

DWa said that this approach is something the LSIP (Local Skills Improvement Plan) recommend. They will be looking to cross-pollinate in West Sussex and Brighton & Hove.

DWa said that the number of vacancies in hospitality mean there are many ‘accidental managers.’ The sector could identify from better management and leadership. More workers want a more supportive workplace environment. Conflict resolution needs to improve. There is a need for support outside sector specific roles. CllrBa agreed advising that the Chef Partnership is doing work around culture and management. Employers need to set the agenda for positive workplace environments to attract and retain staff.

SBu explained that access to funding can be an issue. General management courses are available to all sectors. What industry want are ‘tickets to operate’, the compliance of Food Hygiene or license to serve alcohol. These sit outside core funding. Often they can be accessed through funding within something else. Currently, numeracy funding is available through Multiply so they can be delivered within that. This will change and will have sat under a different scheme in the past.

DWa responded that he will feed back to DfE on ‘tickets to operate’. He raised whether the flexible funding of up to 3% of AEB (Adult Education Budget) could be an answer.

ACTION 1: Add innovation fund to the Adult Learning Network agenda – Secretariat

AP felt that students do not realise the extent of opportunities available in the sector. There is also some ‘stigma’ attached, and parents do not see career opportunities. Colleges do a good job with the students they have, but there is a lack of volume.

CC thought that a central location to know what funding can be tapped into would help. Her hotel does a lot of internal training and promotion from within. Since the pandemic younger staff (17-25) have got to know and see career progression.  SBu said that having these young people talk to their peers – face to face at Jobs Fairs or on social media – would be inspiring and relatable.

JBa said that as a trustee at Hailsham Community College, she is disappointed when she sees hospitality is the weakest represented industry at Careers Fairs. Hospitality employers need to promote themselves and be present. Many have relied on signs in situ, this no longer works or attracts enough of the right people. 

ACTION 2: Look at and consider linking recruitment campaigns to UK Hospitality’s national Hospitality Rising Careers campaign.

CllrBa advised there will be shared hospitality stand at the Bexhill Jobs Fair on Friday 10 March at the De La Warr Pavilion. The Visitor and Cultural Economy hospitality round table event on 27 February links to the Jobs Fair. A shared stand makes it easier for a range of organisations to attend.

4) Feedback from Skills East Sussex Board

CBr summarised discussions from the meeting on 31 January. SBu gave an update on the activities of the sector Task Groups including this one, and Hospitality Rocks.


The main theme of the meeting was the current landscape and the increased cost of living. Funding updates covered a range of programmes, some ending and some starting. Support into Work is in its early stages supporting Ukrainians and other refugees into employment and there is untapped potential here. There needs to be support and mindfulness of their mental health.

The majority of districts and boroughs are looking at innovative ways of using the Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) across East Sussex. DWa said that if a collaborative approach is taken with the AEB innovation fund this could be £0.5m across Sussex for training outside AEB. Details not yet available.

5) Careers Hub update

HC gave an overview of the work of the East Sussex Careers Hub.  He agreed from his work and experience that many young people do not realise the range of roles in any one business. This is particularly highlighted on Open Doors visits – where employers host visits from school and college learners to their premises. There is a lack of Open Doors employers from this sector.


CC was prompted to consider how work experience (WEX) can be more consistent and improved across the board. She arranges a variety of tasks for learners who come for a week, but knows some hotels have them cleaning tables or taking orders for the entire week. JBa agreed that developing a programme will help employers.

ACTION 3: Meet with sector employers on the work experience offer provided – EHA

ACTION 4: Contact the Careers Hub to raise awareness of and engagement in the sector with schools and colleges – Employers

HC advised that Open Doors differs from WEX. The Hub works closely with the WEX team and will share this information.

Roles that engage directly with schools and colleges are Industry Champions and Enterprise Advisers. More are always welcome, particularly in the Visitor and Cultural Economy. 

CllrBa enquired about gauging success. HC advised that there is feedback from business, teachers and students but the Hub does not have information on what subjects  participants go on to study. CBr continued that they are limited by the employers who participate. There is only one Open Door from a hospitality business. The Hub targets those sectors where the shortages are. Destination data is collected but not linked to Open Doors or by sector.

SBu raised whether the process of highlighting potential careers happens early enough. Many pre-teens are captivated by cookery shows. CBr said that the primary pilot was successful, and work continues. There is scope for further primary funding, it will need schools’ engagement. JBa highlighted that the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts does primary age specific work which employers can learn from.

JBa noted that unfortunately, equipment costs and the space needed means that practical courses such as catering are often the first to see reductions.

6) DWP Priorities

AG explained that the employment landscape is tough for the unemployed in East Sussex compared to neighbouring counties – 0.2 jobs per 1 claimant, compared to 2-3 available jobs in Surrey.


During the pandemic, the focus was new claimants. DWP are refocussing on the long-term unemployed, especially those furthest from the labour market who need health support.

Hospitality is not at the top of the vacancy list locally – social care and education are. Districts are offering more bespoke offers specific to sectors and towns. An example of this was providing a coach to Camber Sands from Hastings for people to get to work.

HG advised that they work specifically with ex-offenders. Other cohorts supported include a neuro-diverse jobs fair for example as well as the 50plus, ‘Your Experience Counts’ campaign.

In Sussex a trial starts of daily appointments for the first two weeks of the claim. There is support available for childcare costs. Access to Work can provide employers with funds for specialist equipment or cover workers’ travel.

HG advised that local jobs fairs are advertised at Job Centre Plus offices and information is sent to partners. This includes the ESTAR team who are East Sussex arm of Moving on Up and Support into Work. CC said that she does not see when these Jobs Fairs are on. The Eastbourne Hospitality Association has over 120 members despite falling numbers and engaging them would be mutually beneficial.  AG encouraged all employers to visit their local JCPs as there is a lot of free vacancy advertising and other support employers can benefit from.

ACTION 5: Share jobs fair information with Skills East Sussex – DWP

ACTION 6: Share jobs fairs information with Task Groups – Secretariat

7) AOB/Date of Next Meeting

Next meeting Wednesday 24th May 2024 at 10:00-11:30 online using MS Teams.