Businesses are struggling to recruit qualified hospitality staff / josele

Marbella town hall looking to open new catering college to tackle lack of hospitality professionals

The Sierra Blanca school trains 140 catering students every year to cover a demand that exceeds 500

JOAQUINA DUEÑAS

Companies on the Costa del Sol are finding it very difficult to find employees in the hospitality sector at the moment. Hotels and restaurants are looking for trained and qualified waiting staff and kitchen professionals. However, demand is currently far outstripping supply. As such, Marbella town hall is looking into setting up a hotel and catering school to do "something more serious in terms of training in this area", says the councillor for employment, Cristóbal Garre.

Garre’s department is in permanent contact with the companies that are setting up in the town, many of which are struggling to recruit staff, including the Club Med Magna Marbella or the Hard Rock. Garre said that the latter is “doing the recruitment process with us and it was thought that there was going to be a massive attendance but they have asked us to call again because they have not managed to fill these jobs.”

Rafael Aguilera, a catering lecturer in the Department of Hotel and Catering and Tourism at the Sierra Blanca school said, "We have detected an increase in hotel managers, restaurant owners or chefs and maître D’s who call us requesting personnel. Our turnover is between 120 and 140 students every year and the job offers from employers in the area alone amount to between 500 and 600 ,” adding, ”We have a huge demand for professionals.”

Garre goes on to explain, "We as an administration are interested in filling the posts with unemployed people from Marbella, but while they are being trained it is not going to be easy to find immediate employment.”

7,000 profiles

In the meantime, the Hard Rock plans to open its doors on 1 June, so they have made available the database of students who are currently on one of the 36 hospitality-related courses of the Intergra Programme, most of whom live in the town.

"We cannot meet the demand within the 7,000 profiles that we have on the employment portal, so we are working on solving this by making the kitchen and waiter training much more professional with a stronger programme through a hotel school,” Garre explains, adding that more funds will be made available to pay for this.

The delegation has been working for six months on a project that aims to bring together everyone working in the sector, from hotels and restaurants (including Michelin-starred ones), to suppliers, teachers and jobseekers to create a community, but still need to find a location for it.

Garre has raised the possibility of using spaces belonging to the regional government, the Junta de Andalucía. He has in mind the Albergue África or the Residencia de Tiempo Libre and the local youth hostel.

For the moment, they are taking advantage of all the meetings that are being held to identify the people and needs to create the hotel and catering school. "The school is a priority because it arises from a need", Garre argues. In the meantime, training courses will continue to be given in municipal spaces such as the Cortijo Miraflores, the Business Incubator and the Palacio de Congresos may also be considered, depending on capacity.