As the new Diploma in Hospitality goes live in schools in England this September, it's crucial that employers and teachers capitalise on one of the greatest opportunities to showcase our industry to the next generation, argues Heather Taylor from People 1st.
"Many students will shortly be returning to school to start a new programme that could change their lives. Some may be anxious about whether they have made the right choice, and teachers and employers have a significant part to play in managing their concerns and expectations.
The Diploma in Hospitality is a great product and a fine example of co-operation between industry and education. But we need to ramp up our joint collaboration. Although many employers - such as Calcott Manor, the Peach Pub Company and Center Parks - have given their input and supported the diploma's development, this must continue.
The diploma is one of the best opportunities for the hospitality industry to attract and nurture the next generation of well-rounded, knowledgeable and "work-ready" professionals from an early age. It's a fantastic platform to showcase the diverse range of careers and opportunities available in a continually expanding sector. And that requires joint collaboration with schools - ensuring that course content is accurate, sharing industry expertise, providing work experience and facilities, and giving masterclasses to students.
The challenge we face is whether we can change people's mindsets about the hospitality industry so that they start treating it as a real career rather than a transitional job that people fall into temporarily.
The diploma can do this. It's a robust and rigorous qualification that gives all students a thorough grounding in different aspects of the industry and it's flexible enough to give them the option to progress on to higher education, an apprenticeship or industry work.
However, we need ongoing active engagement from schools and employers to secure a cracking career start for the next generation of hospitality staff."
By Heather Taylor
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