How to upskill yourself in the hospitality industry

Yukari Iguchi, academic lead for hospitality and leisure, at University of Derby Online Learning (UDOL) provides some advice about how to upskill yourself in the hospitality industry.

The hospitality and tourism industry in the UK is the 4th largest employer with a workforce of 3 million people and over 180,000 businesses, and the industry is still growing. By 2025 the value of tourism in England is set to double to over £216bn, providing 1 in every 10 jobs.

This means there will be an increasing number of job vacancies at all levels. In fact, in 2014 recruitment levels in the UK went up 18%. This does not only open the opportunities to young and aspired people to enter the industry, but also provides skilled professionals the chance to accelerate their career.

However, skills shortages and high staff turnover are a major threat to the industry achieving its growth potential. The term ‘revolving door’ describes the high staff turnover in the industry, which leads employers to rely on transitional workers to fill in the gap.

Although there are more career progression opportunities, if you do not develop yourself (or your staff’s) skills to the right level, it will have a negative impact to the business performance as well as individual career path. Therefore, it is vital that you manage your own development.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a combination of approaches, ideas and techniques that will help you manage your own learning and growth. It applies throughout your professional life, and you are responsible for identifying the needs of development and manage it.

In order to start with your CPD, it is important to work out where you are right now in order to progress. Because CPD is yours and each individual is unique, there is no right or wrong approach to CPD. It can be formal or informal.

Hospitality Guild provides information on a range of training initiatives, career opportunities and training providers to help people enter the industry or progress career to the next level.

The Master Innholders offers a Scholarship Programme annually to grant successful candidates places on a two-week management development courses at reputable institutions such as Cornell University (USA) or the École Hôtelière de Lausanne (Switzerland).

Attending training and development courses is one of the best ways to develop skills and deeper understanding of the industry and your work. However, not everyone is in the fortunate position to secure time and funds for that. More informal and less expensive, but no less effective, activities can be:

  • Regularly checking industry or business news.
  • Subscribing to the industry publications e.g. newsletter, magazines, etc.
  • Attending the trade shows to develop your knowledge and professional network.
  • Participating in charity/volunteer work e.g. local fundraising or language exchange.

Remember, this is for your development. Sometimes it is easy to stick to what is within your comfort zone but there is a need for individuals to go beyond that comfort zone, to dream and try to make that dream a reality, through experimenting with new ways of doing things.

Whatever activities you undertake, it is important to keep a record of them - it is very easy to lose a track over time. You can create a folder electronically or in hard copy to keep all records in one place (this becomes your portfolio), adding each activity on your CV every time you complete one, or keep a diary or blog (you get more motivated when you have an audience). Getting into the habit of recording your development can be very beneficial in the long run.

For more information about UDOL, go to: www.derby.ac.uk/online/home-page

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