Events range from chefs giving talks in local high schools to conferences attended by 400-500 students and featuring presentations by Hilton employees of all departments. As part of its Youth in Hospitality month, the company has also put in place a ‘career concierge’ service on Twitter, allowing young people to ask questions using the #careersatHiltonLive hashtag and getting replies from a panel of 15 different employees.
“There hasn’t been one particular question that people have been asking. We had people talking about how to get into a particular branch, how best they can strengthen their experience or what education would be best to get into management or how to get into an apprentice scheme," Hilton director of talent acquisition Europe, Middle East and Africa Robert Zajko told BigHospitality.
"But there have also been questions about how their careers can develop. So it’s been around what the opportunities are, how to get into the industry, and how they can develop within it."
A selection of questions and answers are displayed on the company’s website, and questions can also be asked on Hilton’s Facebook page.
Zajko explained that the aim is to reach the broadest audience possible within the 14-25 age range and address some of the challenges they have had in terms of information and skills gap.
“We commissioned a report back in 2012, which found that two of the major challenges for young people to get into the industry were the information barrier – knowing what jobs are out there, what the industry is about and what sort of skills are required, and the skills gap," he added.
"We’re in a fairly unique position in the industry to help tackle these challenges so we looked at how we could engage young people and raise the profile of the sector while helping prepare them for the skills that they may need."
This is our third year Hilton has run the Youth in Hospitality month in Europe, and the first year the firm has taken it out of Europe and made it a global event.
Solution to youth unemployment
The travel and tourism industry is one of the world’s largest employers, providing one in 11 jobs, with another 1.5 jobs created in the economy for every hospitality job. There are around 75m unemployed youth around the world, and the worldwide hospitality industry is expected to create 73m new jobs by 2022, making it a very attractive solution to address youth unemployment.
Zajko pointed out: “In the UK there’s always been a challenge in the perception of the hospitality industry, so a lot of the events are about connecting with people who don’t know that much about it. When people learn about the opportunities, it really opens their eyes and helps shape their thinking about the industry as a whole. It’s about raising the profile and showing people that it really is an exciting industry.”
People can still attend the events running until the end of May, and ask questions via Twitter and Facebook throughout the year.