I wrestle with the important subject facing all UK hospitality employers, what steps can we all take, no matter how small, to help the industry reputation to evolve to one of an exciting, endearing and a welcoming career destination for young people, covering a vast number of different roles and disciplines, appealing equally to the academic or vocationally driven individual?
How do we influence them and those who shape their opinions?
I was working with our own Company consultative committee, a newly formed group with an individual representing each of our businesses. They come from across the range of job roles and each have a unique and different story to tell as to how they got into hospitality. I asked them what they thought we should do. They engaged instantly, with energy and dynamism, and each told their own stories, full of personal successes, fulfilment and promotions. Many spoke of how others saw potential in them and challenged and coached them to do more. Their pride and passion was amazing and what we did right there and then was record their stories and we’re updating our communications platform now with these terrific messages. It’s only a small but positive step.
What about the parents, teachers and advisers that influence? I asked my aging father, a chartered surveyor by trade, what he remembered from this time in my life. I changed my place to study teaching to a hospitality degree just weeks before I started, because I was having such a great time in a part-time job. His memory in many aspects today is limited, but on this topic, he was surprisingly crystal clear. I gave you both the same advice he said, referring to my brother and I. You need to lead your own lives, create your own successes and take your own learnings from the daft things you might do. That way, you’ll only ever have one person to satisfy or to blame, that’s yourself!
Is it really this simple?