Ruth Bankover, head of work experience and Inspire at Springboard told BigHospitality that more school, college and university students than ever were considering careers in hospitality and therefore should be encouraged to try out all aspects of a job, rather than being left to watch others or ‘spend three weeks cleaning toilets’.
“We are trying to inspire students into a career in hospitality and change the perception of it as a stop-gap for other jobs. We don’t want it to be seen as a low-class career choice, so employers need to provide a worthwhile work experience to get them interested in the industry,” she said.
According to research, work experience is the biggest influencing factor when it comes to career choice and as it forms an integral part of the curriculum for students aged between 16 and 19, Springboard believes employers should do all they can to make their businesses attractive to young people.
The charity currently works with more than 90 employers through its Inspire programme which offers a quality standard for work experience.
Bankover said the programme, which has been running for several years, supplies a set of useful guidelines for employers and ensures that the relevant paperwork is in place. It also asks students who have undertaken work experience to review it afterwards, so the organisation knows when it has been inspirational or not.
“Work Experience is a really great way for a young person to explore their career options, enhance their CV, develop a range of transferable skills whilst ensuring they make a good impression on a prospective key employer," she said.
"The employer also needs to provide something worthwhile so that when they do come to leave school or college and think about careers they are going to want and come and work in this industry. With the large number of new hotels and restaurants opening it's important that we have the workforce to fill them."