My Shout

Be proud - and loud - about our business

By Mark Baird

- Last updated on GMT

Be proud - and loud - about our business

Related tags: Young people, Hotel

I spend a lot of time meeting with pub, bar and hotel owners and understanding their concerns and issues.

One of these — articulated eloquently recently by licensee Karen Errington — is the attitude many people seem to have towards hospitality work.

Why is this type of work viewed as perfect for gap years or student summer holidays? Why are these jobs seen as disposable, or stop-gaps? Can we as an industry be offering the best possible service to customers with a staff that has one eye on the job and one on the job pages?

Are we not underselling the opportunity a career in hospitality, of becoming a bartender, represents?

Last year, Diageo brought its Learning for Life initiative to the UK. It aims to equip unemployed young people, often from challenging backgrounds, with the skills and opportunities to find employment in the hospitality industry. More than 300 young people have graduated from the scheme and I’m proud to say 75% of them found work immediately after.

At a time of high youth unemployment, this couldn’t be more important.

These are jobs which teach people vital life skills. Yes, confidence, self-sufficiency, time-management, one to one communication and how to manage customers are all important. But it’s also a way for young people to get to understand how a small business runs.

These are jobs where, through hard work and professionalism, real management opportunities emerge. People learn finance, book balancing, how to manage a team, how to deal with suppliers.

In other words, a job in a pub can be the first step in a wider business education that can give young people the skills they need to build a career or perhaps even go on to run their own business. And there is no reason why that career or business shouldn’t be in the hospitality industry.

In many other countries I have visited, a career in hospitality is something to be proud of. Here, for reasons outlined above, it is less so. And yet ours is the most entrepreneurial, the most exciting and rewarding industry there is. If you work hard and learn your trade, you can make yourself a success.

We’ve all seen it and enjoyed it. Neighbour-hood pubs transformed and made successful by energetic new ownership and creativity. Pop-up restaurants serving delicious food.

Ambitious bartenders serving exciting cocktails that put their establishment on the map.

Let’s be proud of that — tell more people about it — and help those who are interested to make a career and a name for themselves.

Mark Baird is Head of Alcohol in Society at Diageo GB

Related topics: Marketing

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