At Rinova, we’ve been exploring the concept of skills swaps in the Hospitality Sector for towards three years. The idea of skills swaps were originally conceived following discussions with hospitality and tourism companies in London where we’ve been exploring various novel ways to address skills shortages and recruitment issues through our Hospitality Academy.

Skills swaps envisage companies getting involved with employees and apprentices with direct training and know-how. The particular ‘twist’ is that companies do so with apprentices or employees who are not their own- and that, in return, the company gets a benefit ‘back’ – in that cooperating companies and employers ‘swap’ something that helps make this work for everyone involved.

The Skills Swap Erasmus+ partners line up for a group photo – left to right: Maria Knais, Athena Knais (EdITC, Cyprus); Vaso Anastopoulou (Dimitra, Greece); Elena Nasarre Garcia (Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Zaragoza); Javier Ortiz, Antonio Ortiz (Sextaplanta); Richard Parkes (Rinova), Águeda López (Zaragoza Chamber) and Vivian Welker (Folkuniversitetet, Sweden)

Specifically, those workers or apprentices taking part benefit from a work-based learning experience, or learn a concrete skill – typically in a ‘bite size’ way – that they would not ordinarily be able to access at their own place of work or training, or from those who usually supervise or train them. In a skills swap, the ‘favour’ is returned.

In September 2020 we were successful in securing an Erasmus+ project to share the idea and design and test some aspects of itwith partners in Spain, Greece, Sweden and Cyprus. However, we applied just before Covid-19 hit everything and everyone – but especially the Hospitality sector (!) – right across Europe. Not only that but also, for us in London, hospitality also started to suffer – again, particularly hard compared to other sectors – from the double whammy of ‘Brexit’.

Still, we have pressed on, developing a new Guide for Employers about hospitality skills swaps as well as a unique digital app for ‘skills swappers’ to keep a record for their own portfolios of their skills swap experience.

On the 3rd February 2023, hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Zaragoza in Spain, we were all able to meet again to review our progress and discuss how we were coping with our ‘simple experiment’ being affected by the world having changed! We heard, together, that despite many barriers, very many companies like the idea. And, despite the unbelievable issues we have faced whilst trying to test this idea, we’ve still managed to complete almost 60 skills swaps in the UK and across Europe – with hopefully another 60 to come.

So, during 2023 it is full steam ahead!  If you would like to get involved in London, contact Alex Walker on – who’ll be happy to introduce you to the idea and show you the support available.

We’ll also be hosting an event in May this year about skills swaps and you can also follow our progress on the Skills Swap specific LinkedIn page and on the Skills Swap Erasmus+ website.


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