In response to staff shortages, developing and retaining existing staff as well as recruiting new workers to the industry, several hospitality operators have taken matters into their own hands with an innovative new venture, introducing their own training academies.

English Lakes Hotels Resorts and Venues, a family-run business with hotels in Lancashire and the Lake District, started a hospitality training academy in partnership with Kendal College to invest in its staff development, broaden career experiences and improve customer service. Daniel Winstanley from English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues, says, “We were already working with the college on a variety of training initiatives for staff including our established Culinary Academy, but we wanted to develop a formal route to attract more people into the industry and develop their skills.”

The course is a mix of college study, interactive practical sessions and paid work within English Lakes’ hotel venues. Students can attain nationally recognised qualifications with Level 2 NVQs including food safety in catering. Courses are available for existing staff and new recruits and are delivered over a 15-month period with a dedicated tutor assigned for each participant.

Daniel says, “The Academy has multiple benefits – home grown talent for our company, while students have the advantage of working in hospitality venues, the chance to see how professionals work, to learn about teamwork and the company’s ethos and values. The Academy also helps with staff recruitment, retention, staff career development and personal attainment.”

Roberto Costa, founder of Macellaio RC, a growing family of six Italian restaurants in London, has set up Matooro Academy in collaboration with the European School of Economics (ESE), which introduced its inaugural course earlier this year. Roberto says, “I believe continuous learning is the key to personal growth and advancement. I am eager to pass on my experience and knowledge to young people who have misconceptions about the industry. Many perceive being a waiter as merely a temporary occupation while waiting for something better. For me being a waiter was a steppingstone to becoming a manager, an operations manager and ultimately, an entrepreneur.”

Matooro Academy helps with staff recruitment, providing the company with a pool of skilled candidates. “It helps bridge the skills gap and enables organisations to hire qualified individuals. The Academy’s strong industry connections can help students get jobs and internships,” he adds.

The course covers every aspect of the hospitality industry including customer service, back-office operations and leadership. Students attend sessions at ESE’s London office, although some modules are online.

“Students will acquire knowledge and practical experience in overseeing operations and implementing strategies to enhance guest satisfaction. It also pinpoints the significance of back-office operations such as financial management, procurement and inventory control,” says Roberto.

Roberto encourages other companies interested in setting up an academy to join forces with them. “By collaborating with us, companies can leverage our expertise, resources and established network to create a successful initiative.”

The Clermont Hotel Group also recently opened a learning and development centre for its new and existing employees, as part of its plan to help people forge careers in the industry. Amanda Hall from Clermont Hotel Group says, “Our staff are at the heart of everything we do for our customers and their development is of huge importance.” Partnering with apprenticeship providers, the company offers nationally recognised qualifications covering all aspects of the business from Level 2 Production Chef to Level 7 Accountancy