Education key to boosting recruitment in hospitality
As students across the UK receive their GCSE results today, trade body UK Hospitality seeks to remind the next generation of workers that training is available for those seeking a career in hospitality.
While the sector continues to face global staffing shortages, CEO Kate Nicholls has highlighted the resources young people have when looking to join the hospitality industry.
“The hospitality sector offers a huge variety of options for people at all levels, and there are a number of schemes which offer flexible learning and training for anyone looking for a fun and rewarding career,” Nicholls said.
“These include the new occupational traineeships in hospitality, with training in maths, English and digital skills; apprenticeships at all levels that cover the many and varied roles our industry has to offer, and employment with structured training. Next year we’re very excited that students will be able to opt for the new T Level in Catering as well.
“The sector is seeing record vacancies and is working hard to attract the right people of all ages and to showcase the many, varied and rewarding careers we offer. Wages are rising across the industry and with the right attitude, progress can be swift – there’s plenty of examples to inspire students of those in hospitality who have gone from bar to board in a very short time indeed.”
Viable career options
One stumbling block the hospitality industry continues to come up against is the ‘reputation’ it has for not being a viable career choice. In the UK’s hospitality workforce strategy: Fixing the crisis, published in May, it was noted that there had been a ‘heavy decline’ in the number of students participating in courses that lead to careers in hospitality.
“There needs to be a coordinated conversation about how such skills are taught in school and colleges and how to make sure that people have the options available to pursue qualifications in hospitality – which makes up one in 10 jobs in the UK,” it said.
“For too long the hospitality sector has failed to ‘sell’ itself effectively. It is often said that the biggest deterrent to young people joining the sector is the view of their parents that hospitality foes not offer a real career. There needs to be a holistic approach to change the misconceptions around working in hospitality,” the report continued.
Speaking to The Spirits Business, industry ‘icon’ Monica Berg, co-owner of the acclaimed London bar Tayer + Elementary, commented: “A lot of the time people assume that people are in this industry because they have no other choice, but that’s not true whatsoever. For myself and many other people I know, we do this because we want to, you know, it’s not the lack of other opportunities. Many of us sit on very high degrees, but still we’re drawn to this industry because this industry is an amazing one to be in.”
Nate Brown, owner of east London bars Nebula, and Soda and Friends, believes schools have a responsibility to educate students about career options in the industry: “I never planned to go into hospitality – I worked in bars and restaurants to pay my way through university and it was eye opening – what other industry can you have a background in anything and still go into it?
“Hospitality has everything, from creativity to the science side, but it’s not talked about in schools and I don’t get it. It should be a proper career, but it’s not seen to be.”
Brown employs his own methods of ‘advanced hospitality’ at his bars in order to get the best out of his staff and nurture them to progress their careers, while also offering a high level of hospitality to his guests. “I get so much praise for my team,” he tells us. “That’s because we do what we can do to bring their personality out and give them confidence. Our team are amazing because we allow them to be. We treat them like adults, and I think if advanced hospitality as a concept was the norm, hospitality would be a viable career for anyone, and it should be talked about more.”
“I’ve had a lot of people work for me in the industry over the years, and they’ve gone on to do great things, running some of the best bars, so my thoughts and theories are by osmosis seeping into the rest of the industry and I hope it will keep going.”
However, those already working in the industry are keen for education and training to be available for people at all stages of their careers in hospitality, in order to aid retention of talent in the industry.
In May it was announced that Berg had been appointed as creative director for Campari Academy, a first-of-its-kind educational platform that seeks to take inspiration from outside of the drinks industry to educate, connect and inspire bartenders at all levels of their career on a global scale.
Berg is passionate about how educational platforms like the Campari Academy are helping to further assist the industry with moving forward in the training and recruitment sphere.
“Every single brand now has an educational platform and every single brand has an education pitch. Essentially, it’s the new — it used to be sustainability and charity, now it’s education, and I think it’s a good evolution, especially with our industry.
“[In hospitality] we start out very, very vulnerable, because there is no formalised application; there is no institution that can teach us what we need to know, but our industry is universal in the way that you can basically do this job everywhere in the world, if you know the basics. That’s the beauty of this profession, but at the same time, because it’s such a practical profession, there is no unifying organ that educates us, that teaches us what the tools are that we need to have in order to create the future that we want.
“The Campari Academy is creating a platform where you can address topics that are not necessarily directly linked to serving or to what’s inside the glass (even though that is one part of it), but also looking at the bigger picture of our industry.”
The Campari Academy has created a strong local network of physical hubs in key markets around the world over the last 10 years, including Italy, the US, Spain, Brazil, Austria, Jamaica, China and Australia, with more to follow including France and the UK. It has also undergone a digital expansion to draw on the success of this network and to create a platform that is accessible to all global bartenders.
Berg continued: “Recently there has been less focus on the kind of technical knowledge that is required in the profession, so now we have the younger generations looking for people to learn from, but because of the growth of our industry, it’s almost like there is a generation missing – the one that went on to work for brands or work for other sides of the industry that weren’t necessarily existing 20 years ago, which was a natural evolution — but now there’s a void that we need to fill.
“We need people that are able to hands-on teach the up-and-coming bartenders, and that is what is really cool about the Campari Academy.”