The UK’s local and national economies both rely heavily upon hospitality. Even the smallest towns and villages require pubs, restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues of some shape or form. Almost every sector and business in the country is touched by the hospitality industry somehow, catering to both locals and tourists and contributing billions of pounds to the UK economy annually, making it one of the largest and most important industries in Britain.
Careers within the hospitality industry are popular choices for students in both higher and further education, with options such as tourism and catering available. They provide students with a high level of expertise, which will ultimately enhance their employment opportunities in the sector.
College and university courses alike are being consistently challenged to provide a practical, informative experience of hospitality as a career. In this guide alongside Newcastle College, we explore how students can become work-ready.
A Hands-On Work Experience
When T-Levels are introduced next year, work placements will form a compulsory part of every course. This is contributing to the increased demand for education to provide a genuine insight into all aspects of a hospitality career, which is essentially the goal of all vocational education.
By participating in takeovers with local hotels and through high profile partnerships, the students will simulate a sense of involvement with projects and understand how they function in the hospitality sector.
The value of having relevant experience was uncovered in a recent study by UCAS, which found that two thirds of employers favour graduates who have had vocational experience; as it is fundamental for developing an understanding of business culture and it also demonstrates initiative in their journey towards the world of work.
Getting the Professionals on Board
Often, those who are at the helm of college hospitality courses have years of indispensable industry knowledge. Not only can they offer their own expertise, but they can bring in guest lecturers from the industry to offer masterclasses in their specialisms.
Guest lecturers are known to make a regular appearance on the schedules of students, and the takeaway from them is extremely positive. Research has found that this helps them build important connections between their on-site learning and the real world, with the guest speaker able to offer a different perspective on the subject.
Top of the Range Facilities
Learning a practical skill in an impractical environment is not complementary for the learning process, therefore hospitality classes require a simulation of the work environment.
There is a lot of merit in creating the right learning space when it comes to hospitality courses, shown in the latest Newcastle College Ofsted report. The findings praised both the partnerships with employers and the quality of facilities, both of which help students develop the work-related skills required whilst learning in an industry environment.
The college has invested £45,000 into its hospitality facilities, ensuring that students benefit from their time spent studying. The instalment of five industry standard kitchens and a brand-new patisserie is testament to this, as it gained them the Centre of Excellence status for Food and Beverage and Patisserie and Confectionary with Gold accreditation.
Opportunities and Practical Learning
Skills developed during lesson times are often put to the test in competitions between peers, creating a unique application of learning.
Real kitchens can be hectic environments to work in, as they are often under a lot of pressure and subject to meet deadlines. This acts as an invaluable experience for students, reflecting the realities of a career in hospitality.
The student’s talents are often showcased on a regional and national level in further competitions, challenging them to master their vocation ahead of employment.
Hospitality education is constantly facing new challenges and requirements, in order to meet an ever growing job market. If you’re thinking of getting into the hospitality trade, look up courses at your local college for experiences which will prepare you for a demanding career and help you stand out from the crowd.