On Tuesday, EP was delighted to host an important forum discussion between leading University educators and Industry. In partnership with the Council for Hospitality Management Education (CHME) and supported by academics with hands on experience in industry from across the UK and Europe, academics met with hospitality professionals to discuss and debate the future of hospitality.
There is no hiding that there are many issues and concerns but the session also highlighted that there are a wide number of real areas of common ground and desire which can be developed and progressed. The aim of the group, after the meeting, is to create a wider and larger forum to be hosted in Q1 of 2020 that really does bring this discussion to a larger audience and to be then continuously built and developed.
There is a desire for change to the existing landscape and for a common agenda that places talent at its heart.
It is often easy for such sessions to be negative but maybe what made the forum not fall into this trap is both a desire for change and to ensure that both industry and education possess a real focus on developing great talent for the future. Some of the key messages that came from the session are:
- Hospitality skills are attractive and key both for the industry itself and for many other industries. It offers a very attractive and sought after skillset and this maybe needs great acknowledgement and understanding.
- Great students are supported by innovative and flexible curricula that guarantee great careers.
- There are many great examples of good work, innovation and initiative that are not getting profiled and that do both deserve to be and need to be as this, in turn, generates greater confidence and understanding.
- As is so often the case, it was argued that more does need to be done to tell the story of what a great industry Hospitality is as well as the story of great innovation in academic hospitality departments across the country. There is still a poor perception that is often outdated. This needs to change.
- Mentoring is so important in the development of the young – and therefore there must be a strong relationship between industry and colleges
- There is confusion and misunderstandings across the landscape that needs to be corrected.
- A positive message does need to be told as the good works get lost often in a sea of cynicism and misunderstanding.
- The industry is changing at speed, with ever greater links with AI and innovation and again the closer the relationship between industry and education can only be of benefit.
- It will be important to give great young talent a voice and opportunity as this then inspires others.
As is true across many discussions and disciplines, there is a desire for change and this, in turn, can create an important momentum.