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Young hospitality staff to form revolutionary Junior Board in York and North Yorkshire

Published: 21 November 2023

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Four people in a line

A new, one-of-a-kind hospitality leadership programme has been launched in York. 

In partnership with York St John University, North Yorkshire-based entrepreneur and industry leader, Philip Bolson, has created the Junior Board initiative to aid the development of future hospitality innovators and change the perception of the sector.

The transformational programme will form a Junior Board of young leaders in the hospitality industry who will be mentored by industry experts and supported as they complete training and projects. The regional scheme aims to change the reputation of professionals within hospitality with a focus on recruiting the best possible talent. The programme is supported by a wide range of local businesses and community organisations who see the unique value in the concept for the sector.

After the COVID-19 pandemic and the forced closure of many businesses within hospitality, the sector has faced massive challenges. These issues, combined with the current economic uncertainty and squeezed margins, have caused the industry, worth over £2 billion in the region, to struggle.

At the same time, the hospitality sector has experienced issues with the retention of employees, with many young people believing there is no progression or room for growth. The Junior Board programme aims to alleviate these issues.

Brendan Paddison, Associate Dean of York Business School, said: “York St John University is proud to be a key partner in this initiative which supports personal and professional development and lifelong learning. The Junior Board raises the profile of the hospitality sector as an important career choice for students and graduates.”

The project will now focus on recruiting the junior managers who will constitute the Junior Board. and then move on to the initial stages of mentorship, training, and involvement with the college community. There will be monthly board meetings to discuss progression and work on projects.

The programme is sponsored by marketing agency Punch Creative, and High-Level Software, alongside supporters Cedar Court Hotels, Love York, YO1 Radio, Successful Futures (North Yorkshire Business and Education Partnership [NYBEP]), and York St John University.

Laura Mason, Chief Executive Officer of NYBEP, said of the programme: “NYBEP is a not-for-profit social enterprise with over 30 years’ experience of working with young people in the local area to help them prepare for the world of work. The Junior Board is supporting aspiring talent to progress within the hospitality sector whilst continuing to nurture future talent by engaging them in the NYBEP Successful Futures programme.”

Founder Philip Bolson has decades of experience in hospitality including running pubs, restaurants, and hotels and as the General Manager at the 5 star The Grand, York. He is now a Director of the York based peer-to-peer programme ‘Your Small Business Board’, and owner of Mr B Hospitality.

He is using his wealth of knowledge to secure the future of hospitality and pass along expertise to the next generation of the sector’s leaders whilst also influencing others to join in.

Philip said: “This is a long-held passion of mine, understanding that we have a responsibility to support young people in a compelling, relevant and impactful way. There can be a lot of negative press around hospitality and whilst it is having a tough time, the region's hospitality has truly amazing people. The Junior Board aims to play a small part in shining a spotlight on this, helping people understand what makes hospitality the best career or job in the world. I would encourage those who care to get involved by emailing me at”

York St John University offers an undergraduate course in International Tourism and Hospitality Management, in which students can discover how businesses operate and learn to apply these principles to the tourism and hospitality sectors.

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