Welcome to the fourth issue of the Skills to Advance newsletter. This issue focuses on the range of services available from ETBs to upskill and reskill the hospitality and tourism sector. In particular, it shines a spotlight on the recent response from SOLAS, the ETBs and their enterprise partners to the current needs of the sector. Two new programmes have been created in team leadership and supervisory management to retain talent, build career pathways and prepare for sector recovery.
Developing Leaders for Hospitality and Tourism
In February 2021, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris TD, launched two national upskilling programmes for employees in the hospitality and tourism sector. These customised programmes were developed by SOLAS and the Education and Training Boards in consultation with the Irish Hotels Federation, Fáilte Ireland and the Regional Skills Fora.
The hospitality sector, valued at upwards of €7.9bn to the economy, has been severely impacted by the pandemic, with over 100,000 jobs at risk due to Covid-19 restrictions. To boost the retention and career progression of key talent in the industry, the Developing Leaders for Hospitality and Tourism programmes provide highly subsidised upskilling opportunities, delivering critical team leadership and supervisory management skills to enable business recovery and growth.
Programme content includes operational skills management, customer care, people management, finance and controls, green/sustainability, strategic planning, communications, health and safety, promotions and sales and digital skills. Online training with tutor support is provided by ETBs nationwide with flexible delivery to suit employer and employee needs.
Speaking at the launch, Minister Harris said: “Covid-19 has hit the hospitality and tourism sectors and those working in them extremely hard. These two programmes offer an opportunity for employees and employers to upskill and will help staff deal with the new business environment, its challenges and opportunities.”
L-R: Andrew Brownlee, CEO, SOLAS; Simon Harris, TD, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science; Elaina Fitzgerald-Kane, President, Irish Hospitality Federation; Niall Collins, TD, Minister of State for Skills and Further Education; Tim Fenn, CEO, Irish Hospitality Federation; at the launch of Developing Leaders for Hospitality and Tourism
Programme Rollout and Roadshows
To roll out the Developing Leaders for Hospitality and Tourism programmes, the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) is leading out on a series of roadshow events to promote the opportunities available and to recruit employees to engage in training.
Regional roadshows are hosted online by Elaina Kane-Fitzgerald, President of the IHF, with a panel of speakers from SOLAS, ETBs, Regional Skills Fora and local hoteliers. To date, 182 staff from 100 hotels have taken part in the roadshows in collaboration with ETBs from Kildare and Wicklow, Galway and Roscommon, Kerry, Cavan and Monaghan, Kilkenny and Carlow, and Cork, with positive feedback from employers and employees.
ETBs are showing great flexibility in delivering the programmes to meet industry needs, with plans to pause training during the summer months, resuming at the end of peak holiday season. Further roadshow events are scheduled for the coming month to ensure all employers across the country can avail of these opportunities to develop their people and provide career pathways. SOLAS is launching a promotional campaign after Easter to raise awareness of this valuable new support for those working in hospitality and tourism.
Commenting on the new programme, Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, President, Irish Hotels Federation, said, “I would like to commend SOLAS and the FET sector in their response to the impact of Covid-19 on the hotel sector. The proposed module content is very relevant and supports the development of the necessary leadership and management skillsets required to recover and grow our businesses”.
The right people with the
Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board (KWETB) was one of the leading ETBs, collaborating with industry partners, to establish the ‘Developing Leaders for Hospitality and Tourism’ national skills initiative, having a particularly strong tradition in providing training programmes for the hospitality and tourism sector.
Working closely with enterprise, KWETB’s Hospitality Training Centre provides a future pipeline of talent to meet hospitality requirements and develops courses to meet the skills needs of employers in the region. In March 2021, it added to its suite of courses by launching the two new programmes with 17 participating hotels in the first cohort.
Eileen Cullen, Training Services and Innovation Manager of KWETB said: “The hospitality sector, a key pillar of the Irish economy, has experienced significant challenges in the last year. The industry is built around consumer experiences and service delivery by a skilled workforce. Retaining and attracting talent will be a priority. This training is about preparing for the future, upskilling and working together to rebuild and train the hospitality leaders of the future”.
Gerard O’Brien, General Manager, Woodenbridge Hotel & Lodge, Co. Wicklow said: “One of the great positives we’ve experienced since two of our team members signed up to the KWETB programme, is that each week they are using that week’s learning to actively assess and critique our own hotel’s processes and systems. This has led to some really interesting discussions and fresh insights that I feel will be of significant long-term benefit to our business.”
KWETB will continue to be at the forefront of delivering high-quality employer-led training in hospitality and tourism, to meet the ever-changing needs of this dynamic industry.
Swift response to sector needs
The Hospitality Campus in Limerick and Clare ETB (LCETB), which also played a leading role in the new Developing Leaders for Hospitality and Tourism initiative, commenced the programme in February.
Moving swiftly on the new initiative, LCETB received an immediate positive response from industry, with 45 employees signing up from local hotels and tourism service providers to take part in the tutor-led online learning programme.
Focusing on identified business needs, three modules, all at QQI Level 6, were provided in a virtual classroom environment: Business Management, Communications and Marketing Management, with the first cohort of learners due to complete their training in the coming months.
LCETB has a strong record of providing training for the sector that is flexible, agile and responsive to industry needs and expects this will be the first of many such offerings to support hospitality and tourism towards re-opening and recovery.
Westside Further Education and Training Centre is Cork ETB’s dedicated Hospitality Training facility and since its official opening in November 2019, the Centre is committed to ensuring that Cork remains at the forefront of the culinary developments in Ireland through provision of focused industry-relevant training.
In 2020, staff liaised with key players in the hospitality industry and other stakeholders to create a suite of certified hospitality courses such as Patisserie, Bartending and Barista, and Restaurant Skills, aimed at upskilling employed hospitality workers under the Skills to Advance Initiative. A combination of their state-of-the art facilities and course delivery by industry tutors such as Valrhona Patisserie Chef winner 2019, Paula Hannigan, enhances the learners’ skills to meet the emerging needs of a fast-paced industry.
In 2021, a key focus will be to support decision makers in the hospitality sector to seize the opportunity to upskill existing employees during downtime, through the range of dedicated Skills to Advance Programmes.
In particular, the bespoke programme ‘Covid-19 Return to work protocols for the hospitality industry’ will prepare employees for recovery in the sector expected in the second half of this year. Upskilling at this critical time will help teams stay connected, keep talent on board and protect jobs, to ensure the hospitality sector can rise again.
Embedding a culture of learning and development
Investing in upskilling their management team and embedding a learning and development culture were the key motivators for the participation of Johnstown Estate in Skills to Advance training.
Set within 120 acres of parkland in Co Meath, the 4-star luxury resort has used the time during Level 5 restrictions to deliver two QQI Level 6 modules in Training Needs Identification and in Design, Training Delivery & Evaluation to heads of departments in the hotel. This will not only enhance management performance and productivity, but also equip managers with the expertise to deliver in-house training to staff on an ongoing basis.
“Dunboyne College, Louth Meath ETB, has been instrumental in supporting us during this pandemic by providing exceptional learning opportunities for our employees” said Therese Phipps, Learning and Development Manager, Johnstown Estate.
“The experience has been seamless with the development of bespoke training content specific to the hospitality sector. In Johnstown Estate, we are committed to fostering a strong culture of learning and development and we look forward to continuing our participation in upcoming courses.”
This training partnership highlights the range of support services available to enterprise from their local ETB, to enhance the professional development of staff, build capability and secure the growth potential of the business into the future.
Like to contribute to our eNewsletter?
If your ETB has a story about a Skills to Advance programme and its participants or an event that you would like to see featured in the next issue of this eNewsletter please email [email protected] or [email protected] - the deadline for submissions to be considered for our June issue is Tuesday 18th May.
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