David Teasdale, General Manager of Dishwashers Direct, discusses addressing the skills gap in the hospitality sectors, exploring whether internships are the answer.
Travel and tourism is fast growing industry and one of the largest employers in the world,which makes me wonder why there is a skills shortage in the hospitality sector, which still affects many businesses.
Vast innovations in technology has contributed a dynamic and diverse hospitality industry, that continues to change. For example, hotels and restaurants are now mainly booked online.Businesses such as Airbnb, the peer-to-peer housing platform, are providing real competition for hotels. Online booking and the growth of social media means the relationship between the customer and the provider has changed.
In today’s market, businesses and employees always need to be one step ahead in terms of knowledge, skills, and innovation.
As the economy picks up, the hospitality sector will face competition from other industries,and should make sure that there is strong learning and development opportunities in place. Mainly to ensure that talent is retained.
When looking at the industry as whole, one way we must respond to this challenge is to make sure that staff have the right skills at entry level.
Technology is only going to continue to influence the future of the hospitality industry. Therefore, it’s vital that digital skills must be integrated into education, as well as practical, soft skills and business management. It’s important that students are being educated in the right way, courses should be tailored to ensure students have the appropriate knowledge to be successful. To succeed, the industry and the educators need to understand and take a closer look at new trends that emerge. Investing in youth is hugely important.
However, I have a strong belief that the future to addressing the skills gap is to offer more opportunities for people to enter the industry.
Investing in youth is hugely important and one method that addresses this are internships. For those entering the industry, internships can help open up opportunities. Potential employers often prefer new recruits who have real life experience, over those who don’t.
Internships provide an effective sign as to whether potential employees can meet the high standards expected from the industry. They also offer insight into what a day-to-day working life involves, and also provides experience in different areas within the industry.
Those who possess good communication, both written and oral, and great time management and organisation will succeed in hospitality. In turn reaping the wealth of benefits, such as gaining industry knowledge that can’t be learnt anywhere else, making professional contacts, improved confidence and a possibility of a full time job. It also offers a nice balance between learning transferrable skills, opportunities to travel and experience new things, and also offers the possibility to choose a working schedule or calendar that suits you.
Internships also highlights strengths or skills, allowing students to make an educated decision on which areas they may wish to specialise in.
Ideally, a combination of academic and real-world learning would produce the best results. It is extremely common for professional and personal development to be best achieved through this balance of theory, and actually doing it. Getting it right enables graduates to step straight into an employed position and start work at a professional level.
In today’s market, this is especially important, with more specialist knowledge often required to retain that competitive edge. Competition is high and hotels are constantly trying to find high-quality candidates to fill the skills shortage, interns will not only create a dynamic,vibrant and enthusiastic workforce, but it will help to secure the future for any hotel.
Internships are important in creating future industry leaders. If employees are already experienced when they start, this will guide both the internet and the business in the right direction.