Securing the future of hospitality

Karen Black, general manager of Hospitality Training, gives some insight into this exciting industry.

Hospitality Training is an industry owned group training association that was set up in 1990. We are unique to Scotland, and the North East, and are owned by our members, who are made up of hoteliers, restaurateurs, and caterers from across the region. We are not for profit, and work with Skills Development Scotland to deliver Modern Apprenticeships in Hospitality and Professional Cookery.

Tourism is vital to the Scottish economy and currently employs 211,000 people nationally. The sector is important to both Scotland and the north-east, and has real potential as a source of long-term jobs which will bolster the local economy as the oil and gas industry and traditional sectors decline.

In order to improve business efficiency and standards of service in the tourism industry, the labour force must be properly trained, motivated, and rewarded. Hospitality Training is involved in this long-term strategy and perceives this as vital to the future success of Aberdeen city and shire.

Karen Black

The industry has had a long-running battle with skills and staff shortages, and has had to compete for many years with the oil and gas sector for apprentices. Employers in the tourism industry are working very hard to offer attractive and flexible employment opportunities, and may view the modern apprenticeship programme as an essential component in their staff development plan, and the future success of their business.

Occasionally a lack of awareness of the scope of careers within hospitality can prevent young people from considering a job within the sector. There are jobs available in accountancy, marketing, human resources, and social media, to name a few, and of course we are always in need of highly skilled chefs, who will help to showcase the fantastic produce on our doorstep.

There are real opportunities to develop quickly and gain promotion at a relatively young age to senior roles within the business. There is scope to travel the world and work in luxurious, and dynamic environments. It’s hard work, but hospitality is fun, and no two days are ever the same, we have something for everyone.

The modern apprenticeship involves the young person working with the employer, and Hospitality Training to achieve a high level of skill and knowledge in their chosen occupation. The apprenticeship framework allows the individual to work at their own pace, and gain invaluable practical experience in a real work environment with real customers.

The future of our industry rests on the attraction of young people who want to learn, are positive, have a passion for excellent service, and a real desire to work in a people-focussed environment. The recruitment of apprentices will ensure there is a secure foundation for the future of our industry, we cannot continue to grow, and gain a reputation as a world class visitor destination without them.

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