Crisis Shortage of Chefs Forcing Restaurants to Close; 5000 Chefs Required by 2016 to Fill Vacancies

Restaurateurs call for Re-Establishment of CERT (Former State Training Agency for Tourism)

Thursday November 12th 2015, Dublin, Ireland.

  • New apprenticeships goes some distance in helping the crisis chef shortage.
  • Restaurants Association call for the re-establishment of CERT, the former State Tourism Training Agency.
  • As a short term solution, the Association are currently seeking to partner with Chef Training Colleges worldwide to attract qualified chefs to Ireland.

The Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) today calls for emergency measures to be implemented to solve the crisis shortage of chefs. The RAI are reiterating the need for the re-establishment of CERT, the former State Tourism Training Agency. The RAI says that there is now a crisis in the shortage of chefs in the country, and an investment in training is needed urgently.

The organisation is calling on the Minister for Education to re-establish CERT, with immediate effect. Chief Executive of the RAI, Adrian Cummins commented, “Some restaurants across the country are facing mid-week closures due to the shortage of chefs. It is interesting to note that the other large industries in Ireland such as agriculture and fishing have dedicated training centres around the country. The hospitality and tourism industry is one of our most valuable assets. It is ludicrous that there are no training colleges for our industry.”

Mr. Cummins commented on the new proposals, “The chef shortage in this country is an ongoing problem. The new apprenticeship proposals are a stepping stone in tackling the crisis but the re-establishment of CERT is the only solution.” The RAI state that the main skills shortages are among suitably qualified chefs. Shortages of commis chefs feed into shortages at higher and specialist levels. Among the applicants submitted for chef positions, many are deemed not to be appropriately qualified. This reflects the fact that there is not enough chef training centres. Currently 1800 chefs qualify each year from certified culinary training programmes. There is an immediate deficit of 5000 chef trainees annually.

The RAI recommends investment in management and the establishment of 10 new chef training centres nationally. CERT, the State Tourism Training Agency, was established in 1963. CERT was responsible for providing a trained workforce for the hotel, catering and tourism industry. It offered training courses for those wishing to pursue a career in this field and for employees in the industry who wanted to develop new skills. It was abolished in May 2003.

Irish workers are accounted for 69% of employees in the Hospitality sector. This highlights the importance of the industry. Mr. Cummins continued, “We want to be able to market Ireland as a centre of food excellence, a true culinary experience with world-class chefs leading the way. Instead, we are finding ourselves in a position where we have a severe shortage of chefs in Ireland which is now threatening growth and expansion in the restaurant sector.”


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