Top hotels from across the country were on hand to offer advice to students starting their hospitality careers as concerns mount over the growing skills shortage facing the industry.
The Careers Fair was organised by the University of Essex’s Edge Hotel School at their Colchester Campus where 32 prestigious hotels including The Ritz London, Shangri-La Hotel At The Shard and Claridge’s spoke with students about graduate opportunities.
Industry leaders offered advice on the variety of opportunities available to graduates hoping to work in hospitality and events, as well as sharing tips on interview techniques, guidance for landing a top job and explaining more about the excitement of working in a fast paced, people focussed industry.
Recent research has shown that just 22% of 16-21 years olds in the UK would consider a career in hospitality despite it being the 4th largest industry in the UK*.
“Hospitality is a great industry to be involved in,” said Laura Winstone, Talent & Development Manager at the Shangri-La Hotel At The Shard. “There are roles to suit everyone, anywhere in the world and a passion and enthusiasm can lead to great rewards. It was fantastic to see the industry coming together and sharing their advice and experience with young students at the start of their journey.”
Natasha Thakker, Assistant Human Resources Manager at The Ritz London, added: “The industry is going through significant change at the moment and there are some concerns about the number of people entering the profession. However, life in hospitality is often misunderstood and there are so many opportunities available. We regularly welcome students to the Ritz so they can gain practical experience which gives them a real boost and helps them land the top jobs.”
Andy Boer, head of department at Edge Hotel School said: “Currently young people aren’t aware of just how vibrant and exciting a career in hospitality can be. There’s a perception that it’s all about making beds or waiting tables. But it’s much more than that. It can lead to a whole variety of roles that span design, revenue management, finance, talent development, law and marketing. It involves real business acumen.”
Mandy Hu, a Hotel Management student who attended the Careers Fair, commented: “Whilst the academic side of my course has given me a really good understanding of what it’s like working in the hospitality industry, I’ve found that the first thing potential employers ask about is practical, on the job experience. Working in the on-campus hotel as part of my course has been a real boost and it was encouraging speaking with some of the most well known hotels about the prospects available after I graduate.”
For more information, visit www.essex.ac.uk/departments/edge-hotel-school.