Hospitality industry can have a say on shaping future talent

22 February 2017

Industry has the chance to influence how its leaders of the future are trained as the University of Derby steps up its links with hospitality, tourism, spa and events management businesses.

Every year managers from the hotel, spa and events sector come to the University’s Buxton Campus to meet promising undergraduates who are seeking careers at an Industry Networking Day.

But the Day also includes advisory boards where the worlds of work and academia can discuss each other’s needs – and how training and education can benefit both students and future employers.

Now this is to be put on a more formal basis, with more regular contact with business and industry having a bigger say, Dr Sarah Rawlinson, Head of Hotel, Spa and Resort Management has said.

“It helps us to identify early on what talent you need and want to start shaping,” she added.

Students networking at Buxton Campus

At the very start of Industry Day, two employers had already spotted two students they wanted to employ, and many of the 47 companies, which attended from all parts of the UK and abroad, keep coming back every year for more.

Lesley Bacon, Group Health Club and Spa Manager for Hand Picked Hotels, said: “The University of Derby is known as the crème de la crème. There’s a huge opportunity for these students to have a really fabulous career."

“Next year you’ll find more you’ll have more employers here from health clubs and the likes because sadly there’s not enough people coming through to meet the demand you have in the industry, so we want to cherry-pick the best.”

Dr Rawlinson called for volunteers from industry to take part in the advisory board panel which will now meet twice a year instead of annually.

The work of the panel will also help the University in its stated aim of increasing the amount research into the hospitality industry, which in turn will help businesses.

Students have already taken a lead in helping to re-shape the visitor offer at Derbyshire tourist resort Matlock Bath, and are working with highways officials in Buxton on the future of transport in the town.

Internationally, Derby is leading on the Tourism Naturally Conference series which will meet next year in Austria to find ways in which the economic benefits of tourism can be retained in host countries.

Anyone who would like to take part in the advisory boards should contact Dr Rawlinson via Jo Stutz.