Along with a number of others, I attended a forum event by Hospitality Table Cornwall at Budehaven this week. The reason for the meeting was how to make a career in hospitality more attractive to young people. It utilised the excellent skills of Budehaven’s Catering department whose students provided us with a delightful afternoon tea which they also served. Well done to the students, who were excellent.
Obviously, for young people living in Bude, hospitality is an obvious career choice, but there are many outdated views which still prevail about the long-term opportunities in hospitality.
Led by newly-appointed Project Coordinator, Matt Davis, along with a talk by the TV chef, Jude Kereama, based in Porthleven, the question was how to make hospitality more enticing for students to consider as a career. The thinking had knock-on effects for hospitality businesses in Bude. This comes from a few notes I made on the day:
- Cafes and restaurants should ideally be child-friendly (at least some of the time) because if children are exposed to good food in great places, it may inspire them to try new things but also later to consider the food industry as a career.
- If local venues could offer training for students meaning they see how the industry works first-hand, without having to keep travelling to Truro, then that’s a real positive.
- Children need to be told about food and hospitality from an earlier age, possibly at primary school when they are open to ideas and keen to try new things. Teach them that food is fun: shapes, colours, etc.
- When restaurants have new opening evenings, they often invite local dignitaries and people who can send trade their way, but why not also invite some students from schools, so they get a chance to experience it?
- We need to somehow explain that hospitality is quite holistic and many people working in hotels and catering do not just do one job – they need to be able to hold the fort in many areas, from the front of house to the back of house. Jobs are also available in larger hotels to do IT, marketing, etc. It is still hospitality without serving afternoon tea to a single person.
- Parents and teachers still tend to assume hospitality is a low-level career, so academic students are steered more towards baccalaureate subjects. Barriers need to be broken.
- The way hospitality is taught in the curriculum tends to be food science and technology rather than cooking – should it be more hands-on?
- Budehaven is fortunate in offering a Catering GCSE (many schools do not).
- If local businesses have ideas for training days, etc., Hospitality Table Cornwall may be able to help so get in touch. The more businesses who ‘subscribe’ the more impact.