Think again – The ten piece plan

26 October 2012
Think again – The ten piece plan

The hospitality industry offers a huge variety of roles - from chambermaid to craft chef, marketing director to maitre d'. But although these jobs couldn't be more different, almost all the people who have been successful do have one thing in common: they worked their way up from the very bottom. Their career progression probably looked something like this…

1 Research the industry

It is crucial to understand the career options available to you, and it's also essential to find out which ones suit your personality.

"Think about what you're good at and what you like doing and see how these fit around the different jobs that are out there," advises Jane Sunley, CEO of talent management specialist Learnpurple. "Remember there are lots of back-of-house jobs, such as being a pastry chef, which are perfect for people who are creative and like detail and precision. Not everything is customer-facing."

There are plenty of resources online for finding information about the different hospitality careers and ascertaining whether they're suitable for you.

Try Springboard (" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">]( and UKSP, which offers a Personality Test ([](

Pre-employment programmes

Pre-employment programmes are a great way to prepare yourself for what to expect in the hospitality industry. People 1st offers a new training programme called Employment 1st, which covers 13 job roles and leads to a nationally recognised qualification - the Level 1 Award in Introduction to Employment in the Hospitality Industry.

"Courses such as Employment 1st teach skills including customer service, time management and food safety to get you job-ready," emphasises Joanne Parker, UKSP project manager. "They're specifically relevant to the hospitality sector, which means you gain the skills employers are actually looking for."

For more information, visit the Employment 1st website: [ ](
Work experience

Although work experience isn't necessary to get a job in hospitality, it is a great way to get your foot in the door. UKSP runs a work experience competition that offers the chance to win a week's placement in some of the best hospitality businesses in the UK. Springboard offers a work experience programme called Inspire, and the Prince's Trust runs short "Get Into" work experience courses for unemployed people aged 16-25.

For more information about all three of these, head to Springboard's work experience website ([](, the Prince's Trust's "Get Into" page ( or the UKSP site (

But if you aren't able to get on to a hospitality-specific work experience programme, don't panic too much. "Sometimes it's about reading what you can about your chosen career and amassing knowledge," Sunley notes. "Or you could volunteer in a charity shop, for example. You're still getting customer service experience, merchandising experience and learning how to use a till."

Enter the industry

There are several ways to start your career, which include entry-level role applications, apprenticeships and full-time education.

If you're interested in getting a hospitality-specific qualification before jumping into an entry-level job, there are hundreds of options available. Courses range from full-time diplomas to apprenticeships (these combine on- and off-the-job training and are usually paid), so you can pick a course structure that suits your situation.

For more information, head to the training section of UKSP's website ([](, or if you're specifically interested in apprenticeships, try [](

Find the right company

Look for organisations that will nurture and develop you so you can progress in your career. For Sunley, this doesn't just mean choosing a company that will put you on dozens of training courses. "Go on companies' websites and read their ‘People' section," she suggests. "You can absolutely tell if they have a strong culture. For example, they might have case studies or explain how your journey could unfold while working for them."

Be At One, for example, emphasises its focus on bartender development, while Lexington Catering offers funding for courses and the opportunity to work on community-based projects such as Chefs Adopt a School.

Be a great employee

Find out what's expected from you and over-deliver it. "It's all about learning the rules and then carrying them out," Sunley notes. "The best way to do this is to make friends with your colleagues so you're not asking your boss questions all the time and driving him mad!"

Moreover, don't forget how important the really basic things are. Smiling, being polite and making an effort with your appearance will all demonstrate to your boss that you care and want to impress.

"If you're a nice, helpful person, everyone will want to help you out," Sunley emphasises.

Broaden your outlook

Many employers offer further training and courses to continue your hospitality education, so speak to your employer about the learning opportunities available to you.

But don't assume that the only way to learn is by sitting on a training course. Instead, you could take the initiative and try to get experience in other areas of the company that don't necessarily fall under your job description.

Another way to broaden your outlook is to go and do some of your own research. "If you have a day off, go and have a look at the competition," Sunley says.

To find out more about employers that are committed to training and supporting their staff, you can visit UKSP's Good Employer Guide ([](

Management training courses

When considering moving into a management-level role, it is important to ensure you have the skills and knowledge to be successful. "Management courses can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and create an impact," Parker notes.

Many companies offer in-house management training courses, but there are also many other programmes out there. Women 1st offers programmes to help women who aspire to senior leaderships role to fulfil their career ambitions, while the Institute of Hospitality has a great Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Scheme.

You can find more information on these programmes at the Women 1st website ([]( and the Institute of Hospitality's CPD page ([\_scheme](

Expand your profile

Once you're settled in your chosen profession, it's time to research the professional groups and associations available to join. Networking is a great way to get to know other people in hospitality as well as expanding your career horizons.

The Hospitality Guild ([](, which was set up in 2012 to bring together the leading hospitality associations in the UK, is a great place to start. "If you become a member, you get access to all of the different organisations and can attend networking events, seminars and other programmes," Parker remarks.

Find a mentor

You never stop learning in hospitality and what better way to continue your education than learning from someone who has already achieved their career goals. Don't be scared of approaching a more senior colleague, a member of a networking group or a personal contact who you feel could guide your progression in hospitality.

"Sometimes people think a successful person wouldn't consider being a mentor, but most are happy to pass on their knowledge," Sunley says.

There are also several formal mentoring schemes you could join such as the Women 1st Mentoring Programme ([]( and the Oxford Brookes Bacchus Mentoring Programme ([

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