The expert panel Our expert panel comprises representatives from the Hotel and Catering Training Company (HCTC), MaydayExec, Bartlett Mitchell, Learnpurple, Conran and Portfolio International.
I am an NHS senior manager and my husband is a chef. We are looking to open a restaurant soon. My husband will be chef-proprietor and I will look after the business side. Can you recommend courses or qualifications to take?
Courses such as the part-time HND in business at Westminster Kingsway College can give you an overview of the financial side of hospitality management and can be completed while you are working. Similarly, a course called Managing Finance and Information can be undertaken at the Open University, www.open.ac.uk. Alternatively, your local colleges will offer evening courses in business studies and finance.
Short courses such as Finance for non-Financial Managers can teach you the principles of financial management, which you can then apply to your particular business. These courses are held by various training organisations and generally last only one day.
You could also speak to your manager at the NHS about becoming involved in the financial side of the business and see if they can offer coaching. Alternatively, you could offer your time to assist the accounts team at your company to compile daily, weekly or monthly figures.
Ian Horrox, human resources director, Conran Restaurants
The HCIMA Advanced Certificate in Hospitality Studies covers all aspects of hospitality, from food and beverage management and financial control to customer service and marketing. This can be done on a day-release basis, lasting two years (details from www.hcima.org.uk or www.springboarduk.org.uk). Learn Direct offers a number of short- or long-distance learning courses in all aspects of management, which would increase your skills and confidence. Check out your local college, too.
Much information can be gained from your local Business Link centre (www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/home, which will give you advice on starting and developing a business and will put you in touch with local consultants who can help you. It would also be able to give you information on local funding, which can be available for further education for people starting their own business.
Wendy Bartlett, director, Bartlett Mitchell
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