Industry divided over hospitality education drive


With a need to encourage the next generation to take their first steps in the hospitality industry, do you think some of the hospitality education courses offered at colleges and universities are reflective of the challenges of today’s hospitality market?

Kate Levin, general manager, The Capital

Hospitality is an ever evolving industry and there is an innate challenge between learning overall theories and concepts versus a practical application and interaction with guests. My father is a longstanding supporter of Oxford Brookes university school of hospitality management where all courses offer work experience, shadowing and placement opportunities throughout a four-year course. Another example would be The Edge Hotel School who promote an ethos of ‘learning by doing’ and I think this proactive approach is very practical to equip students. I feel there is a real need to encourage, nurture and develop young talent, offering a realistic insight into the world of hospitality with a focus on leadership and management where students can be encouraged that hospitality is an exciting, fulfilling and fun career and I would agree that there is more than could be done across education courses to promote this.

Yvonne Colgan, general manager, Polurrian Bay Hotel

Course content and focus varies considerably leaving a challenge for employers when recruiting. Being a hospitality graduate myself I believe they only serve as a platform to launch one’s career from. There is still no substitute for front line experience especially as the majority of UK hospitality based businesses fall under the category of SME’s necessitating managers to develop competencies across all business disciplines.

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Ian Griebenow , general manager, Homewood Park Hotel & Spa

There are some fantastic courses available to help teach key tools and best practice in a hands on environment. I’ve always believed that if you are going to run a successful hospitality business, you have to naturally be hospitable. Most of the time, this is something which individuals can work on but it takes time, experience and confidence to get it right. Understanding the fundamental principles of the whole operation is helpful to leverage a career within the sector and the best courses offer work placements and on-the-job training which can give the student the opportunity to embrace the challenges of working within the sector and learning hands on.

Adam Rowledge, general manager, Georgian House Hotel

It varies considerably between institutions – some are more reflective than others. There’s still a need for tailored courses that reflect the changing industry landscape, particularly from a commerce and technology perspective. Sometimes, graduates are academically very capable but not always work- ready due to a lack of commercial experience that comes from understanding a business from the inside out. The majority of universities offer placement years and I think this should be compulsory. It is changing though and I’ve found that institutes such as The Edge Hotel School is an excellent example of somewhere that is striking a balance.

People 1st says…

People 1st replied to us on Twitter:

@p1stgroup govt is changing vocational education for 16-19 year olds, the danger is that it may not address specific skills businesses want. They’re critical for chef recruitment but cuts in hours make it hard for colleges to offer the best and broadest qualifications.