A Time for Change? – A vision

Over the last three months, EP has led an open debate on the need for a more modernised approach for the professional bodies to work together so that industry really does gain from the best support available. The debate has gained widespread support and also attracted some criticism, but what is the solution? The following piece offers a vision of the future for consideration

Change is always contentious; even in the best of times, let alone in a tough recessionary market. It is natural that any debate such as one that EP has conducted will attract both criticism and support – it is all part of the process – but maybe it is time to move beyond the actual need for change, and outline the vision that the vast majority of those that we have debated with agree with and support. It is time to focus on solutions, on a possible road forward and what an answer may look like if change was actioned.

So what does a solution look like?

In simple terms, a co-ordinated umbrella approach that highlights and promotes the best schemes and programmes in industry. There are many great initiatives to support professional development in the hospitality industry, all of which have evolved due to a level of demand to support a wide range of skills and specialist areas.

So in order to develop this approach, there are two key elements for consideration based on the engagement undertaken and feedback received to date.

Firstly, a cohesive analysis of existing provision to enable a roadmap to be promoted. Secondly, the development of a single communications channel to highlight professional development opportunities which would be the main portal for those in the industry to access the variety of options available relevant to their role, learning needs, skills and experience.

Key considerations are:

Indepth Benchmarking & Review

  1. To undertake a study to review all industry bodies which offer professional development at all levels and across all industry sectors. This should show:
    a. What provision is there currently
    b. Who is delivering it
    c. What qualifications or professional development activity was available
  2. Create a roadmap which profiles the ‘best in class’ professional development options from the analysis such as:
    a. The best courses at each stage of an individual’s development
    b. Qualification routes
    c. Scholarship opportunities
    d. Ongoing professional development opportunities
  3. As part of this review process, undertake a review of the provision in some other key sectors in order to compare what they do currently to address professional development.

This may all sound straightforward, but it does not exist today. In the modern world it is logical to have far clearer signposting and clarity than appears to exist.

Building a communications tool

  1. Following the analysis and review, all of the feedback and discussion that has been had to date agrees that the creation of a single communications channel to promote professional development opportunities would a simple, effective solution.
    a. The focus would be on creating a digital solution that is engaging and clear, which outlines the opportunities and provides a gateway to professional development.

These focal points have emerged through a considered process of engagement and feedback, in order to ensure that the debate can move forward in a constructive way. There is no doubt that there is a strong desire amongst leaders to evolve a solution that promotes the best of the hospitality industry to inspire and motivate talent of the future.

It is natural that this period in time questions established models and structures, given the backdrop of economic austerity and ongoing business challenges. It is also evident that there is a demand for change in the professional development arena in order to evolve the current landscape, with a more cohesive communication approach at the core.

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