10 May 2021


Hospitality Ulster, the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium and the NI Jobs & Benefits Office network have come together to highlight the employment opportunities and transferable skills that staff who have worked in retail possess which are essential in the hospitality sector.


The trade bodies, alongside NI Jobs & Benefits Offices, are urging business owners in the hospitality sector to look to those who have recently lost their job in the retail sector to fill vacancies in hospitality as the lockdown eases and trading begins again.


The organisations have said that business owners in hospitality and ex-retail staff should use the JobCentre Online (JCOL) digital platform as an effective way to connect with each other. 


JobCentre Online is an online platform designed by the Department for Communities to support jobseekers find the right roles and employers the best suited employees. The free service allows employers to register with Employers Online and have their vacancies posted on JCOL the same day.


Employers in the hospitality sector can notify and manage their job vacancies online in a quick, easy and convenient way and can enter job specifications, qualifications required, wage details and any other requirements specific to their vacancies, with the ability to manage the account online 24/7.


Those looking for employment can search the job market with the support of the JobCentre Online,, including positions such as waiting and bar staff, as well as management roles.


Colin Neill, Chief Executive of Hospitality Ulster said:


“Like hospitality, the retail sector has had a turbulent time particularly over the last year. Regrettably, some businesses in both hospitality and retail have been forced to close. As hospitality slowly reopens, many hospitality businesses have vacancies that need to be filled, and one of the most effective ways hospitality business owners can find the best candidates is through JobCentre Online.”


“The platform allows employers to be specific about the employee they need for a particular role, which in turn ensures the right candidate is selected for the job. The easy-to-use website will save hospitality business owners time, effort and money when recruiting and will allow the focus to be on getting the person that qualifies for the role, so they hit the ground running.”


“We would encourage any hospitality business owners or employers who is seeking new staff to post the job adverts on the digital platform.”


Aodhán Connolly, Director of NI Retail Consortium said:


“The pandemic has been very tough on the retail sector and has seen both small retailers and household names stumble, resulting in redundancies. Whilst there is still a bright future for many retail outlets, it is important that we work together to highlight employment opportunities for those who have regrettably lost their jobs in the retail industry due to the current crisis.”


“The hospitality sector, with vacancies currently across all types of business, offers opportunities to those who have a range of transferable skills and know what excellent customer service looks like.” 


“We would encourage anyone who is looking for a rewarding role and a new career path using their existing skills to use the JobCentre Online and check out the roles available in the hospitality sector.”


Ashley Russell-Cowan, Head of Employer Services Branch with the Department for Communities added:


“Staff in the Department are able to offer employers and business owners in the hospitality sector a straightforward way to recruit using JobCentre Online.”


“The JCOL platform supports both the posting of vacancies and the submissions of available applicants to assist and match supply of workforce to meet the demands of the hospitality sector. It gives employers the opportunity to manage applications in a convenient manner while also allowing jobseekers to target their search for jobs in the sector they wish to work.”


“JobCentre Online will welcome any employer in the hospitality sector in Northern Ireland who wishes to use our platforms to advertise roles and support people in Northern Ireland who are unemployed and seeking work or those wishing to change job, particularly those made redundant in retail, to access new employment.”


“For employers, requiring additional support with recruitment, Employer Advisers in each of the Jobs & Benefits offices are there to help employers seeking to recruit.”


To access the JobCentre Online portal visit or contact the customer services team on 028090909327 or email