“The potential to transform the hospitality sector in the region” – says report on regional hospitality industry
Regional hospitality industry agrees set of recommendations for education, training, staff development and retention following comprehensive study by South East Regional Skills
(Wed. 16 March, 2022) – The hospitality sector across the south east needs to improve its image as an employer by providing all staff with training and upskilling opportunities in line with clear career pathways.
And greater flexibility by employers, including the consideration of a four-day week or alternative weekends off for staff, the introduction of individual personal development plans for workers, and paying employees while they attend training in lieu of work should be adapted if the industry is to survive.
These are among the conclusions and recommendations highlighted in a study published today by South East Regional Skills Forum (SERSF) entitled South East Hospitality Industry Training and Education Review with Recommendations. It provides a comprehensive analysis of the current hospitality sector across the south east in relation to recruitment, education, internal training, development and progression and retention.
As a result of the study, a set of 18 recommendations have been agreed with employers across the region to support the sector in becoming more attractive to employees, the education, training and development of staff within the industry, and the provision of more acceptable working conditions.
South East Hospitality Industry Training and Education Review with Recommendations was initiated to develop recommendations that would support the hospitality industry across the south east to become more attractive to employees and to support the education, training and development of staff within the industry.
The report highlights how the hospitality sector is a key sector within the south-east region, employing some 20,000 persons directly across 90 hotels, 300 guest houses and bed & breakfast providers, 500 restaurants /takeaways and 750 pubs. An additional 2,000 people are working in recreation (visitor attractions, arts and entertainment, sports and outdoor activities) while tourism travel – air, ferries, rail, buses, taxis, vehicle hire and bikes – employs 2,300 (based upon CSO Census 2016 analysis of detailed occupations). However, the sector has experienced difficulties attracting, educating and training staff, which has been further exacerbated by the Covid19 pandemic
The study involved extensive engagement with industry, representative bodies and education and training providers concerning these matters. This included a series of 22 detailed and lengthy industry interviews with the proprietors/managers of 30 hotels and restaurants across the south east. There was also a series of interviews with industry representatives, including the Irish Hotels Federation, the Restaurants Association of Ireland and the Vintners Federation of Ireland.
Collectively, a set of 18 recommendations have been agreed with hospitality employers across the south east to support the sector in becoming more attractive to employees, to support the education, training and development of staff within the industry, and the provision of more acceptable working conditions. These include:
- a commitment by hospitality employers to improve their image and rigorously promote itself as offering diverse, interesting and rewarding jobs and careers
- greater flexibility by employers, including consideration of a four-day week or alternative weekends off for staff
- industry support for existing and new apprenticeship programmes for culinary roles
- more short duration courses that can be aggregated to achieve recognised qualifications with clear progression pathways
- paying employees for their time while attending training in lieu of work outside the workplace
- the establishment of a standing committee made up of representatives from industry, higher education, the ETBs and Skillnets to meet at least twice per annum to review appropriateness of provision and progression pathways.
- employers signing up to a Quality Employer Programme based upon the IFH QEP Programme that would be made available throughout the region and piloted in 2022
- department-specific staff performance reviews aligned with individual personal development plans.
- greater responsibility by industry for scheduled regular in-house training, supported by a workbook for each department
“I am delighted that the hospitality industry and the education and training providers in the south east have come together to contribute to this review and to agree a set of recommendations for education, training, staff development and retention. These recommendations, if widely implemented, have the potential to transform the hospitality sector in the region by positioning hospitality as a career of choice offering rewarding and fulfilling careers to existing and new staff. I encourage all concerned to work together in a spirit of cooperation to achieve this aim for the benefit of the sector and the wider South East region”, said Laurence Conroy Chairperson, South East Regional Skills Forum
South East Hospitality Industry Training and Education Review with Recommendations has been welcomed by the sector. Margaret Darrer, who is general manager of Dooley’s Hotel in Waterford and who was involved in the report, commented, “ It’s an exciting time in the hospitality industry as we work with our education partners to train, upskill and reskill employees. Collaboration between the education sector and industry bodies means programmes can be developed in a short period and with specific industry needs in mind. It is an excellent example of how the sectors can work with each other to future proof our workforces”.
The full report is available here