St Julian Scholars turn challenges into opportunities at their Autumn Meeting

The St Julian Scholars confronted the recruitment crisis in hospitality and celebrated a connected, supportive community in their 2022 Autumn Meeting, themed Overcoming Adversity: Turning Challenges into Opportunities.

The annual St Julian Scholars Autumn Meeting took place on 19 November at The Savoy, London, and welcomed members for an exciting programme of sessions and networking. The event was hosted by Peter Hancock FIH MI, speaker and former CEO of Pride of Britain, who lent his usual wit and humour to introducing the excellent programme of speakers. The afternoon began with an introduction by chairman Nicholas Davies, general manager of the Langham, celebrating the numerous achievements of the St Julian Scholars throughout the pandemic and praising their resilience, with a reminder that they are connected as a community and can look to their peers for help and support during challenging times.

The first speaker of the event was Jane Sunley, CEO and founder of Purple Cubed, with a session entitled So, there was a pandemic, what next?. With a primary interest in employee retention, Sunley explored the key factors in keeping staff engaged throughout the pandemic and the resulting employment crisis in the hospitality industry, including wellbeing, managing change, and communication. John Guthrie, employment policy officer for UKHospitality, followed with a session titled The workforce challenge, in which he discussed the labour shortage in hospitality as a result of COVID-19 and Brexit. The end of free movement, he explained, created a policy in which only individuals earning above a certain amount could legally work in the UK, excluding 85% of hospitality roles.

Chris Gamm, chief executive of Springboard shared the successes of Springboard in bringing new talent into the hospitality industry through schemes such as CareerScope and Kickstart in his session Futureproofing the talent pipeline for hospitality. He was followed by Liz Hartstone, co-founder of Hartstone Rochette and Chris Cooper, operations director at Rockliffe Hall, who discussed recruitment in their session Tips and trends for recruiting in a candidate-led market and shared their advice on the values that applicants look for not only in the company but also in the recruitment process.

Professor Joe Nellis, professor of global economy at Cranfield University, ended the speaker line-up with an insightful presentation on Outlook for the UK and Global Economy – Post Pandemic. Drawing on the latest statistics, he outlined the changing global spheres of influence and their impact on the UK economy, touching upon labour shortages, government budget and inflation, and stressing the importance of investment as a vehicle for positive change.

The programme of events concluded with a wine tasting led by James Mason, director of sales at Hatch Mansfield, who shared some shocking statistics on the impacts of climate change on the wine industry, followed by a spectacular reception by Taittinger and dinner at Innholders’ Hall as guests of the Worshipful Company of Innholders.

Sponsors for the event included ACT Clean, industry-leading cleaning services, Hartstone Rochette, international specialist hospitality executive search company, and Hatch Mansfield, UK wine specialists working with independent producers.