Why is Cumbria's hospitality industry struggling to recruit workers?

Staffing problems are facing many venues in Cumbria as they reopen in time for the summer season.

Over the last few weeks we've heard how a lack of hospitality workers is affecting businesses in the Lake District - and it's an issue in other parts of the region too.

Kitchen staff in particular it seems are in short supply. For the Club House in Carlisle, they've advertised several jobs, but have received little interest.

Chef Gareth Lee told ITV Border: "The kitchen staff are flat out at the minute because of the popularity of the restaurant but also we are short handed. We've tried to take on a few kitchen porters but unfortunately we have lost them.

"It's really difficult to find full-time kitchen assistants and full-time chefs who want to come onboard and share our vision."

In Windermere, business is booming for the Langdale Chase Hotel – but because there are not enough staff, they’ve been forced to cut back on opening hours.

Manager of the hotel Jess Vincent said: "From next week we're only going to be serving lunches until 4 o'clock, not the traditional five or six that we've always done.

"It's just been a struggle to find those people that want to do those hands-on roles."

As businesses struggle to keep up with demand, there are calls for a new visa system to allow European nationals to help fill the staffing gaps.

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron is urging the government to introduce a new visa system to help fix staff shortages in the Lake District's hospitality sector. 

He says the pandemic and changes in immigration rules have made it impossible for some businesses to continue without help from overseas.

The good news is there are young people wanting to work in the industry across the region.

Borders College in Galashiels is seeing an increase in those signing on for its catering courses - and, at Lakes College, students have found it easier to gain hands-on experience.  Samantha Parker has been to meet some of them.