Hospitality currently has the largest staffing shortfall of all sectors in the UK, with a widening skills gap.
That was the message from Sean Owens, Director of the Salon Culinaire at the launch of the 2020 IFEX – Northern Ireland’s largest food, drink, hospitality and foodservice expo.
Taking place from March 24-26 at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast the event showcases the latest food and drink trends, industry leading technology, equipment and services and features a range of visitor attractions designed to inspire and engage.
Ahead of the event’s 25th year, chef Sean Owens highlighted the importance of IFEX to Northern Ireland’s hospitality sector and the role that it has played in the development of skills within the sector since the show’s first event, back in the King’s Hall. At the launch, Sean was joined by the team from Montgomery Group, organisers of IFEX, former winners of Chef of the Year and industry stakeholders.
As the industry-event with wide ranging support from associations including Hospitality Ulster, the Federation of Small Business, Retail NI, Food Standards Agency, Restaurants Association of Ireland and The Guild of Fine Food, details were revealed on Salon Culinaire – the skills competition element of IFEX which will see over 260 professional and student chefs compete in over 30 category competitions.
IFEX Event Manager, Caroline McCusker commented: “IFEX has retained its place as the biggest, most comprehensive tradeshow for the foodservice and hospitality sector – always building and evolving – and we’re extremely proud to deliver an industry event that puts skills at the heart of the show.
Supporting IFEX for the third consecutive show, Colin Neill, CEO of Hospitality Ulster added: “With Brexit looming, these are challenging times for the industry and the impact of Brexit could see the skills shortage deepen. This is why now, more than ever, we need to upskill and champion our talented young chefs and those within the industry. IFEX puts skills on the map. It’s a show supported by industry and created for industry, and it’s heartening to see so many of our biggest players in hospitality and foodservice supporting IFEX 2020.”
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