When we discuss young people’s career development, we (rightly) focus on areas such as qualifications, marks and tertiary institutions. But if we want to talk about getting ready to join the greater workforce, we need to talk about the value of the work experience young people are gaining along the way.
Hospitality offers young people far more than a flexible work schedule, great pay and an opportunity to make lifelong friendships over a staff meal. It actually offers an opportunity to learn skills that they can take to virtually any industry they set their sights on. Let’s take a look at five key skills that hospitality helps develop for young people.
One of the most important skills learned working front-of-house at any pub, club, bar or restaurant is customer service. People come to venues to have a great experience and feel looked after, and the same goes for any customer service role. Ask any sales person, accounts manager, freelancer or small business owner about how important it is to have customer service skills in their role.
Handling complaints and conflict resolution can be an important aspect of the job as well. Staff often have to communicate with patrons to understand their motivations, wants and needs in order to come to an amicable agreement if expectations aren’t met.
Being able to think quickly under time pressure is a highly desirable skill for any employer, and the immediacy of food or drink service is a perfect place to hone these skills.
The hospitality industry is dynamic and fast-paced, and unexpected situations can arise at any moment. Working in hospitality can teach you how to think on your feet and find creative solutions to problems as they arise.
Details matter in hospitality as well. From ensuring that a room is properly cleaned to ensuring that a guest’s special requests are met, attention to detail is critical. Working in hospitality can help you develop an eye for detail and improve your ability to spot and address issues before they become larger problems.
Young applicants for roles can often fall into the trap of citing professional strengths such as attention to detail and problem solving without the stories or evidence to support them – but hospitality provides the experiences necessary to substantiate their claims.
Teamwork and communication
Communication is essential in hospitality, as it ensures that everyone is on the same page and working towards a common goal. By working in hospitality, you can improve your ability to communicate effectively with colleagues, guests, and management.
Additionally, working in the industry can help you develop interpersonal skills and learn how to build strong relationships with colleagues, guests, and partners.
Leadership and responsibility
In hospitality, guest satisfaction is the top priority. This means that every employee must take responsibility for ensuring that guests have an exceptional experience. By taking ownership of their roles and striving to exceed guest expectations, hospitality workers can develop a strong sense of responsibility.
Additionally, hospitality can offer many young people the opportunity to receive promotions and enter into leadership and managerial roles. This prepares them for similar roles in the future, and builds self-esteem by taking on more important tasks such as balancing tills, resolving discrepancies and training more junior staff.
The hospitality industry often requires teamwork to provide the best possible experience for guests. Working with colleagues from different backgrounds, departments, and levels of seniority can teach you how to collaborate effectively and contribute to a shared goal. Hospitality is an incredibly diverse industry, both in terms of the jobs available, staff members and patrons alike.
Young people can often exist in small cultural bubbles, both in-person and in online communities, and there’s definitely value in interacting with people from their wider community.
In conclusion, the hospitality industry offers young people valuable opportunities to develop essential skills that can be applied to any industry. From customer service and problem-solving to teamwork, leadership, and cultural understanding, working in hospitality can prepare young people for a range of career paths.
Hospitality provides a dynamic and fast-paced work environment that allows individuals to hone their abilities in handling unexpected situations and communicating effectively with colleagues, guests, and management. As a result, young people who work in hospitality can gain experience and develop a sense of responsibility and leadership, making them well-prepared for future roles in any industry.
If your child or student is interested in pursuing a career in hospitality, Year13 has created an e-learning platform in collaboration with The Hospitality Institute of New South Wales and the NSW Government called Cheers to Careers. It offers a rundown of the hospitality industry, including how to start their career, and where it can lead.