Are you talented or skilled?

Australia is often considered internationally as great country to work in the hospitality or accommodation industry. A highly qualified and experienced worker in this sector can quickly gain a substantial reputation in their field but also their community.

Check out more articles like this in our monthly industry magazine, Resort News.

On a local level, if you ask an Australian where they get their morning coffee you will likely be given the full name and biography of a talented local barista who upskilled until they were able to open their own establishment. Aussies love an underdog; they like to reward those who work to build something successful. The combination of talent and upskilling is therefore a winning formula for those working in hotel management and one that garners great community influence.

There are generally two types of people we should talk about: experienced workers who want to make their skills ‘official’ so they can reach for a bigger promotion or fill in some technical knowledge gaps, and millennial school-leavers who need a tertiary education bridge to transition over to the workforce. Let’s start by talking about the former.

Experienced workers

These are the people who have put in the hard yards. They’ve worked all the hours a person can work, they’ve learnt on the job, paid attention to where the sector is moving and want to either stay or get ahead of the curve. More than anything, these guys want to gain some recognition for the skills they have already built up. How they can go about this is by turning hands-on experience into actual accreditation and/or qualifications. Thankfully, there are plenty of options.

Crucial, is figuring out what specific accreditation or qualification they want. Do you just want or need a degree? Do you need accreditation from a particular association or centre so you can apply for a new position? Do you already have some tertiary qualifications but want to expand your language skills, or computer-savvy? These are all incredibly important considerations, because they may each lead you to a difference course or institution.

Each institution has a slightly different way of doing things; some are mostly academic while others include practical placements. If you’re already firmly situated within the workforce and just need some accreditation, then a long distance or part-time program might be better suited to your needs.

Millennials and new recruits

There is a plethora of courses, diplomas and degrees, that people interested in accom management or hospitality can take. Historically, career players in the sector were more likely to ‘work their way up’ the traditional ladder and this is still the case in many ways. Room attendants can work their way up to become head housekeepers. This doesn’t mean education is irrelevant though. Quite the contrary, competition is fierce and there are valuable skills to be learnt in tertiary education.

A lot of the recommended courses will include various business management modules but things like languages, economics and multimedia marketing are becoming more and more useful. Particularly for millennials looking to travel internationally as they build their careers, diversifying your skillset could be the difference between a solid job offer and rejection. Lots of Australian tertiary education providers promote travel as at least an optional part of their course, and many encourage integrated work placements.

In fact, the Australian government also has lots of different schemes and channels available for people to receive funding in exchange for developing new skills that will help them grow in their hospitality careers. Each state has different schemes available to help with funding and these schemes include apprenticeships and traineeships as well as a variety of diplomas and certificates in tourism, hospitality and business. A quick Google search will let you know which of these are offered at which institutions.

Most of the schemes, like the apprenticeships and certificates, are designed for recent high school graduates or those without any other qualifications, so they can have an opportunity to get a foot inside the industry door. Many hospitality businesses will require at least a Certificate III from those applying for a job.

Some of the national or state accommodation associations also offer short (sometimes one-off) training development programs for managers and/or staff. These types of options relate more to those who want to upskill or develop a particular skill to help with either a promotion or job aspect. In Victoria, for example, Tourism Accommodation Australia offers short staff courses on things like ‘negotiating’, ‘venue finances’, and ‘event sales’.

If you are feeling antsy and want to give yourself a professional boost, get the accreditation you think you’ve earned, or think your staff could benefit from some upskilling, it’s worth doing some research on what programs are near you.

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