A new qualification for butlers unveiled last week at Buckingham Palace promises to produce a new generation of menservants in the mould of Jeeves and Parker. The City & Guilds Level 2 Diploma for Butlers, which builds on existing Royal Household training for footmen, will appear on hospitality curricula from September.
Mandatory course modules cover guest care, housekeeping and foodservice procedures. Optional units focus on maintaining surfaces and antique furnishings, flower arranging and domestic animal care.
Master of the Royal Household, Air vice-marshal David Walker said the qualification would help answer growing levels of demand for butlering skills in five-star hotels, embassies, private households and corporate fine dining in the UK and overseas.
"We can provide a guiding light about what good service looks like," he said, and added that personal services could offer competitive advantage to employers.
David Foskett, professor of hospitality at Thames Valley University, said the qualification would challenge the misconception that a butler is "just a flunky holding a tray", and would offer candidates "employability and a passport to travel".
"We need to give service a much higher status. We have no service culture, and yet we are in a service economy," he said.
By Mark Lewis
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