I conducted a small survey among tertiary hospitality students last year, 2020, when we were all bemoaning the devastating impact of the coronavirus on the hospitality sector; hotels were closing down and staff were being laid off. Will the coronavirus also crash out the fragile ‘interest’ of our potential professionals, students pursuing careers in the sector?
It was a relief to analyze the results of the informal survey I carried out among the small group of Technical University Hospitality students in Ghana, on their views about their career choices as they witnessed the hospitality sector go down on its knees during lockdowns, not only in Ghana, but globally.
At least among the group I engaged with, I was hopeful; the interest is there BUT it is too fragile to allow it to stay ‘un-nurtured’.
Very few people get the experience shared below by a past Career Development Institute (CDI) student as he engages in a chat with the Host. Let us join in.
HOST: A number of people stumble into the hospitality industry; they didn’t really know much about the industry but various circumstances pushed them there because they had no choice. How did you develop an interest in the hospitality sector?
GUEST: For me, I was fortunate to have exposure to the industry while in my teens. I always followed my mum who happens to be in the industry. During those days I didn’t think much of it until I started watching training video tapes in the hospitality industry.
I had a plethora of books and magazines to peruse anytime I followed my mum to her office.
The interest heightened when I had the opportunity to work as an intern at Golden Tulip Hotel.
HOST: After CDI, you pursued a degree course, but it was not in hospitality. What course did you pursue?
GUEST: I have a degree in accounting and finance. During my days as a night auditor my boss at Golden Tulip encouraged me to study some accounting stating that this will enable me understand and do my job better.
HOST: You had worked in a couple of hospitality related organizations before going to pursue the degree course. May I take it that you were considering other options?
GUEST: I wanted to explore what else was out there. Working in various roles have contributed to my knowledge.
HOST: Having been an SRC President, do you know how much career counseling is done in our tertiary institutions, knowing that a number of students are made to pursue subjects which were not their choice subjects?
GUEST: There is little or no counseling in many institutions. Some institutions have career guidance offices but they do not have dedicated persons attached to the offices.
Most often, one lecturer is assigned to this task and he/she is not always available. Students are also not informed enough about the careers they want to delve in.
HOST: Thank you.
Partners Required to Enhance Students’ Interests
Competency education is an influential step in staying competitive and enhancing skills.
Vivian discovered she was a people person; ‘I enjoy interacting with others’, she told me. Vivian continued:
‘Since I realized that I was more of a people’s person, I made sure I used that aspect of my strength to work. After CDI, I was given the opportunity to do my attachment at Golden Tulip, Wangara Hotel and Coco Beach (now Ramadan Hotel) respectively. These were my first jobs ever! I had never worked before. After the attachments, I got the opportunity to work for 4 airlines; I became a cabin crew in three of the airlines and a ground staff in the fourth.’
Inundated with challenges, how do hospitality students build interest in our environment, when there seems to be no end to dramatic changes in everything around student learning?
Find out in next week’s post Episode 3 on Students.