HUNDREDS of students are helping to tackle the staffing crisis facing York’s hospitality industry.

Student employment start-up Stint has signed up 772 students to provide flexible work shifts to solve team shortage issues as venues look to reopen fully on July 19.

Stint connects businesses with students looking for short shifts, helping to ensure operators have the right number of staff every hour of the day.

The team behind Stint say they are not only supporting their longer term transition to a smarter way of operating, but helping businesses to fill the current staff shortage which threatens to hold the sector back from full recovery after 'Freedom Day'.

Since launching in York in May, businesses in York that have worked with Stint include Grays Court Hotel and Kennedy’s Bar.

Tom Stubbs, general manager of Kennedy’s, said: “Trying to get staff was very difficult when we reopened, so Stint really saved us. It’s a huge relief knowing that Stint students can be relied on to come in and help out. The Stint workers themselves are also always polite, friendly, and proactive - I’ve been surprised at how quickly they’ve gotten to know our team and how easily they integrate themselves into the business.”

In June, Stint released the results of a poll of hospitality bosses since the delay to ‘freedom day’ was announced.

It found that one in five businesses expect to lose at least 50 per cent of revenue following the four-week delay to July 19, and that 20 per cent will not be able to operate at full capacity upon reopening due to staff shortages.

Around 15 per cent of owners believe that at least a quarter of their furloughed workers are unlikely to return, with many workers in the hospitality and retail industries seeking or starting new careers during lockdown.

Stint says its model is a timely and longer-term solution that can help businesses to operate in a smarter way. Using students for basic tasks in short shifts at busy times frees up a business’s permanent staff to focus on providing great customer service.

Helen Heraty, Proprietor of Grays Court Hotel, said: “Coming out of lockdown, staffing has been an issue due to many people changing careers and lifestyles. We’ve been fortunate but have had a couple of pinch points, so getting Stint students in to do the back of house jobs that took our customer-facing staff away from their core jobs has relieved a lot of pressure. We’ve also been absolutely amazed at their quality.”

Alex Stainsby, food and beverage manager at Grays Court, said: “Stint allows key members of our team to just do what they do best and focus on customer service, rather than getting overstretched with back of house tasks. This is especially valuable for a small independent hotel like ours, where customer relations are essential. We use Stint as part of our daily rota now - it’s just become a staple. I did worry as a manager about whether I’d have the time to drip feed information to new employees every day, but I’ve not had to do that as they are motivated and fast learners.”

Sol Schlagman, Co-Founder of Stint, added: “We are delighted at how many students in York have signed up to Stint. We built Stint to help university students earn money in a way that fits around their studies and helps the highstreet transition from an outdated staffing model. Since the delay to full reopening, the sector has been struck with additional challenges, and our solution has become more valuable than ever. We are pleased that our community of motivated students is able to help York businesses during this tough time and beyond.”