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Hollyoaks.jpgAvid Hollyoaks fans had much to contemplate after last night’s episode of the Channel 4 teen drama. Jacqui was furious with Tina for secretly breast-feeding Max. Meanwhile, Kris and Zoe were bickering over ideas for their student TV channel; and Mandy hit on an idea for a wedding planning business. For those of us keen to see more young people consider a career in hospitality, a rather more exciting new plotline began to develop during the mid-episode ad break, when People 1st’s multimedia awareness campaign debuted before those of the 2.2 million teen and twenty-something viewers who hadn’t popped out to boil the kettle.

The campaign has some eminent supporters. McDonald’s, Compass Group, Sodexo and Merlin Entertainments are among the hospitality operators that are backing the sector skills council’s positive attempt to reach out to the nation’s youth. Viewers were pointed to the campaign’s website, where vox pops from industry workers extol the virtues of working in hospitality.

Tom Pearson, head chef of Loch Fyne Covent Garden, talks about the buzz, excitement and adrenaline of working in a restaurant; Compass HR resources performance leader, Anthony Kirby recalls bumping into the likes of Roman Abramovich, Stevie Gerrard and the Royal Family; and McDonalds manager, Laura Cross describes her job’s fantastic environment and endless possibilities.

Vast effort has been exerted over many years to improve the industry’s brand as an employer of choice. Still it remains tarnished by preconceptions of low pay, back-breaking work and unsociable hours. People 1st’s attempt to appeal to youngsters on their own terms is a laudable attempt to bring a little lustre back to Hospitality’s reputation.