Michael Shepherd, general manager of the London Hilton on Park Lane hotel and member of the Master Innholders, says the industry must not lose sight of its existing staff resources
Much has been written recently about the need to attract British nationals into the hospitality industry, and the issue has become highly charged politically. It is, of course, important, but we must also consider the existing valuable resource we have at our disposal.
There is a lot of talent out there, and rather than focusing on the potential lack of it, we must harness and nurture what we have, making hospitality an attractive career choice for ambitious young professionals.
Our challenge is to engage with potential employees, motivate them and set them on a clear career path. Of course, there are deep-rooted issues that both the Government and society as a whole must tackle, but there are no white knights, and we must demonstrate the opportunities available.
I do believe our industry has excellent training and development, and my company is one of many demonstrating great leadership in this area, not always winning the recognition it deserves.
Our various development programmes at Hilton take team members from relatively junior roles all the way to general management. Programmes such as Leadership lead to heads of department, and Shine programmes take people from director to general manager. These are real, practical programmes, developing real young talent.
The hospitality industry's global expansion plans will offer exciting opportunities in the coming years, something which needs to be supported by Government assistance on learning and development.
The qualities of those working in hospitality are often under-appreciated. The value of recognition also cannot be understated, and we make a point of celebrating success.
If we focus on engaging with and nurturing talent, and get suitable recognition and support for these efforts from society and Government, this will put the hospitality sector in a far stronger position in the future.
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