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Conference Aston calls for more women in hospitality

Birmingham conference venue calls for more women to join the sector

Pictured: Clare Kemp, pastry chef at Conference Aston

Samantha Brown, head of Conference Aston, is calling for more women to consider a career in hospitality, saying that she would love to encourage more girls and women into the sector.

Conference Aston bucks the trend in its kitchens, with almost double the number of women in chef roles than the national average.

“We’re very proud of our record when it comes to attracting women to our team and this International Women’s Day is particularly poignant because we have already marked 100 years of women’s suffrage in the UK,” she said.


“The catering industry has been notoriously dominated by men and has long been considered a macho environment but this culture has changed dramatically over the past few years and it is more women friendly, as we have demonstrated. Despite its image, it can be a family-friendly career and we’d welcome more women to use their talents and consider catering as a career.”

Brown went on to say that the venue is already flying the flag for females, with a strong history of female directors leading the business since Conference Aston began operations in the 1980s, to present day where its kitchen team comprises 30 per cent women - almost double the industry average.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in 2016 showed that women chefs are becoming ever more scarce, with just 18.5 per cent across the industry in the UK.

Wilson Vale, Conference Aston’s on-site catering partner, agrees that this is an industry-wide issue which many operators are addressing.

While 51 per cent of its 750 employees are female, the company believes that when it comes to chef roles, a better gender balance can be achieved by making it easier for women to return to the workplace and by supporting female talent to move up the ranks through craft training, mentoring and development.

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