Monica Or, founder of Star Quality Hospitality Consultancy and vice chairman for the Institute of Hospitality London Branch, considers what the hospitality industry can do today to inspire future talent.
I remember when I was at school and at that stage of wondering what to do with my life and all I knew at the time was that I enjoyed cooking, so the career advice I got was work in hotel and catering.
Back in the day our industry was for those that did not know where their life ambitions lay, and for some it appears that the hospitality industry is still an unknown entity and they are oblivious to the wonderful array of fantastic career opportunities it offers. So what are we doing to change how our industry is perceived today?
I was invited to speak at a local school as part of the government’s Inspiring the Future campaign and I spoke to the pupils about Careers in Hospitality.
The first thing that struck me was that the word “hospitality” did not mean anything to these young adults and I am delighted to say that by the end of the workshop their perception had changed. One pupil said “I thought it meant working in a hospital, now I know what it means and I like it!” and another “I didn’t know there was so many opportunities, I think I might want to work in Hospitality”.
One of the other ways the hospitality industry is promoted to young people is through competitions such as FutureChef which is organized by Springboard. This is a national competition aimed at 12 – 16 year olds where they have to cook on a budget, display their culinary skills and experience the pressure of cooking in a commercial kitchen at competition level. Culinary competitions have been the main way that Chefs have made a name for themselves although hospitality is much more than just the catering side, which has been demonstrated by Fred Sirieix and The Art of Service.
Together with Springboard they are running National Waiters Day in June which aims to change the perception of Front of House and Service as an unskilled job working long hours, to one of a job that offers good skills, lead to a rewarding career with good progression routes and amazing rewards. More recently The Hospitality Guild’s ACT NOW! campaign has been promoting apprenticeships for our industry.
Hospitality in the Media
The media also has its part to play in how hospitality is perceived. From reality shows such as Hotel GB to most recently the first episode of The Intern, hotels are once more in the spotlight, and whatever your views of these shows the message we need to be getting out there is that with hospitality being the fifth largest industry, there are amazing career opportunities for those that have the ambition and talent required to welcome our guests.
We need to capture the attention of the younger generation and encourage them to develop, learn and grow in our industry.
So what are you doing to inspire our future generation of hospitality managers?
Promoting the Hospitality Industry through:
- Inspiring the Future campaign
- FutureChef competitions
- National Waiters Day
- Hospitality Guild ACT NOW! on apprenticeships
- TV reality shows…