Professional development in the hospitality industry
Depending on the programme of study that you have pursued, you may enter the graduate workforce at either operational level or a position higher up the hierarchical chain. However, the current trend for organisational structures is to become flatter so, no matter what level you are employed at, you are increasingly expected to take on as much responsibility as you can handle.
The hospitality industry in Ireland is not one that has traditionally been seen to recognise the value of a third-level qualification – in particular, any beyond your undergraduate qualification. However, this trend is changing. Even long established managers who have ‘worked their way to the top’ are beginning to embrace the spirit of continuing professional development (CPD) and to appreciate the wide range of skills that engaging in any third-level programme can provide.
The number and variety of programmes of study has expanded rapidly in recent years to reflect the changing nature of the industry. The variety and scope of postgraduate courses in tourism, hospitality and leisure provide excellent opportunities for graduates to progress all the way to doctoral level should they meet the minimum criteria required.
In addition, the skills developed within the sector – both through academic work and practical work experience – ensure that, as a graduate of any tourism or hospitality-related course, you are a marketable entity in any business sector.
Fáilte Ireland and the Irish Hotel and Catering Institute (IHCI) have placed particular emphasis in recent years on CPD for all those working in the hospitality industry. For example, they have developed short courses in finance, human resource management and marketing. Similar short courses to help graduates entering the workplace to further develop their skills and competences are provided in-house, and by a variety of educational institutions across Ireland.
The Skillnets programme, set up by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment in 1999, aims to support groups of enterprises to come together to decide on training needs requirements and how these will be addressed. The Hotel Management Skillnets programme, for example, outlined a range of competences that it deemed essential for managers operating in a hospitality environment.