BREXIT and uncertain economic conditions are worsening a huge skills shortage in the catering industry.

That’s the message Julie Barker, the University of Brighton’s director of accommodation and hospitality services, will give at a forthcoming Expo.

Julie will also speak on how women are under-represented in senior roles in the industry and how they suffer from unequal pay.

She said: “Women are still under-represented in the C-suite and equally worrying is the pay disparity that continues between genders – regardless of talent, responsibility and performance.

“We should see the challenges as opportunities, enablers to empower us to shout about our fantastic industry, one which is diverse in scope and is crying out for new resources, regardless of gender.

“Women, who already play a significant role in the industry, have the opportunity to shape its future.”

Julie is on the Board of People 1st Apprenticeship and is non-executive director of the University Caterers Organisation and the College and University Business Officers.

Last year the organisation awarded her a Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to the higher education sector.

In 2015 she received a Catey (Caterer and Hotelkeeper) award for her work and was named among the top 20 public sector catering people in the country.

The Hospitality and Catering EXPO takes place at Celtic Manor in Wales on July 17 and 18.

Getting good staff has always been a challenge for British hotels and restaurants.

There are plenty of well trained, highly motivated people out there but there aren’t enough of them.

This can be positive because the industry is thriving so much that it needs more trained staff all the time.

The skills gap is a classic case of demand outstripping supply.

On the facing page we take a closer look at the skills shortage across Sussex, especially in hospitality.