Bringing focus back to quality hospitality education

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Bringing focus back to quality hospitality education

The Pandemic has impacted everyone both on the personal as well as professional fronts. Its common knowledge that the hospitality and tourism industries were hit the hardest. But one must remember that these industries are the epitome of perseverance and resilience. True to their motto of, ‘service with humility’. The industry is looking up when it comes to enhanced business; heading towards the pre pandemic levels slowly and steadily. Here’s a look at some of the changes over the years with an emphasis on hospitality education and institutions.

The Hospitality industry offers careers that are dynamic, challenging, thrilling and vibrant in nature. It offers many opportunities to the people with the right skill sets. A recent study by the World Travel and Tourism Council shows that the Hospitality Industry is the largest employer worldwide hiring 1 in 12 workers, and this number is set to grow with the continued expansion and growth of the sector.

The industry is not really understood well by the general population. Most of them associate it with glamour ignoring the hard work, discipline and the love to serve others that goes hand in hand. Hospitality is all about doing things that come from the heart, manage events and create memorable experiences for the guests.

Careers within the hotel industry

Most associate the industry with Celebrity Chefs but there are varied career options apart from being a chef. A Hotel Management Graduate can work in any of the Hotel’s Core Departments such as Front office, Housekeeping, Food and Beverage Service or Food Production and Patisserie. He can also choose to make a career in the Sales and Marketing or Learning and Development after getting some experience in the Operational Departments. One can go on to become a General Manager, MD or CEO of a Hospitality set up. The ones who are inclined towards teaching can go for higher studies after their graduation and can even earn a PhD. If one dreams of becoming a successful entrepreneur, then he/she can start a business be it a restaurant or a facilities company among many others.

In India, different universities or technical boards offer Hotel Management either as a 3 or a 4 year degree program. A student having completed 12th standard in any stream is eligible to enroll for this professional curriculum.

Magnanimous Attitude will always be rated over academic brilliance. Hospitality is much more than a simple welcome or an offer of food or drink. The key is to paying attention; a need to get out of ourselves and become interested in the expectations of others.

The job demands specialized knowledge, skills and attitude and a ‘never say die’ attitude. It requires a tough mind, a brilliant attitude, compassionate heart and limitless mindset to help and serve customers referred to as guests.

Post covid the sector has bounced back and it has huge employment opportunities. There are requirements in various hospitality and tourism organisations unfortunately we don’t have enough trained manpower. In these times where finding a suitable job is difficult this sector is booming with opportunities. This industry has the potential to make the average youth employable with a promising career and growth opportunities. I am of the opinion that this is the best time to be in the industry for that it is imperative to train professionals who can take up the roles within the countless openings that are there in front of them. 

Importance of selecting the right educational institution or college 

Among the many colleges that have mushroomed over the years not all are equipped to provide quality education. They rely heavily on advertisement and celebrities endorsing their course. Can celebrities really assess the quality of education provided? It is just like celebrities promoting brands through paid advertisements. High chances are there that they may not be even using the very products they endorse. Should educational institutions be using celebrities to sell their courses? It is altogether a different ball game when alumni speak and share their personal journeys but someone being paid to speak about a college is not a healthy practice. Where are we really heading to?

I remember in the olden days there used to be a tiny print advertisement carried out in the national dailies to inform prospective students of the program and the enrollment procedure. Now all social media platforms are used to create awareness about the course. We indeed have come a long way from a one- time print ad to paid industry celebrities speaking about the greatness of a college. It is not a good precedence especially for a hospitality college. Do we see celebrity doctors speaking about any medical college or celebrity engineers endorsing engineering colleges as a part of paid promotion? Education and educational institutions should work within moral and ethical principles after all we are setting examples; the next generation hospitality leaders are observing us. Promotions should be done by all means but then colleges must use their own alumni, students or staff. Advertisements and hoardings are also used to reach out to the prospective students. Many institutions are using them successfully.

I feel fortunate to be a part of the pre opening team of the Apeejay Institute of Hospitality, Navi Mumbai – the learning centre of the Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels Ltd. We designed industry centric teaching – learning curriculum and have been grooming industry leaders for the last 15 years, be it our alumni or Management Trainees of The Park Hotels. We have delivered exceptional results over the years. We are conducting experiential workshops on our premises and counseling students who are keen to join the industry. Having spent over 25 years in hotel operations and academics I believe that attitude and mindset are the qualities that one must focus on while selecting a student for the course or recruiting staff for the hotel. Colleges too must focus on developing these among their students apart from imparting knowledge and skills. It is high time we focus on bringing focus back to quality hospitality education.

PS: Picture is taken from Google with due credits

Laxmi Todiwan
Laxmi Todiwan
Founder Indian Women in Hospitality. She is a Professor, Corporate Trainer, Motivational Speaker and a Blogger. A hospitality professional with a career spanning over two decades; people engagement, training and development is close to her heart. She writes for hospitality journals, international websites and columns in the local newspapers. Married to a Master Mariner she loves to write on the maritime industry as well as the lives and relationships of the fraternity. She expresses her thoughts on her blog and website, www.theiwh.com

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