Now a career in the hospitality industry?

The hospitality industry is understaffed all over Germany: anyone wanting to get apprenticeships like prospective hotel clerk Hannah Lehnert can often choose their employer. (Photo: dpa)
(Photo: Laura Ludwig/dpa-tmn)

BERLIN – Even before the pandemic, working conditions in the hospitality industry were tough. Now the staff shortage is exacerbating the problems. The industry is trying a fresh start for training. What should potential trainees be thinking about now?

“Even before the pandemic, the training market was really tough,” says Christoph Schenk, who heads the hospitality department at Food-Genuss-Gaststätten (NGG). Since 2011, the number of training contracts concluded in the hospitality industry has been halved. Some of those who were there have already left.”

The hospitality industry needs qualified professionals

However, confidence still remains: the fear that there will be no further training has not been confirmed. Instead, it was recognized that there was a need for qualified professionals in the hospitality industry.

This is also shown by the example of Hana Lennert. The 20-year-old began training as an employee at the Hilton Berlin last year. She did not let the effects of the pandemic on the industry spoil her career aspirations. “It was clear to me for a long time that I wanted to go down this career path.”

Not even the suspicions of her first family could change that. In fact, Lennert was glad that she had the opportunity to start her professional training.

Trainees can choose the employer

It is possible that the industry is now at a turning point when it comes to training. There are positive developments, at least for potential entry-level employees. “Companies now have to expand a lot if they want to get interns,” Schenk says.

Hiring skilled workers is a challenge for companies across Germany, according to Sandra Warden, managing director of the German Hotel and Restaurant Association (Dyoga). Employees are required both in major cities and in rural areas, in cities as well as in holiday areas.

And this “labor market tightness,” as Schenk calls it, can be attractive. For interns, this not only means that they can usually choose an employer. Even after vocational training, a whole range of job opportunities are open to them.

What type of training do I want to do?

Sandra Warden, Managing Director at Deoga, advises prospective interns to think about what is especially important to them personally when choosing an internship firm: Is it the potential for an international career? Or would a family business in my home region, where my roots are, suit me better?

Balancing a focus on the strong fundamentals of craftsmanship or on innovative and fully digitized businesses can also help with decision making.

New training regulations attract attention

A topic that plays a role again and again in the hospitality industry is working hours. The pandemic has also had a positive effect here and has contributed to increased resilience, says Gisela Munshegsang, general manager of the Hilton Hotel at Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin.

“We note that as a business owner we must adapt to the needs of the new generation.” It is for this reason that part-time jobs can be realized if desired – and mobile work, for example when it comes to administrative tasks, is also possible.

One aspect that should promote the restart of training in the hotel and hospitality industry is the reorganization of training professions. From August 1, 2022, the updated training regulations will apply to occupations in the restaurant, hotel and kitchen sectors. This should improve the quality of education.

Bad industry – right?

Seems to be much needed. In Gisela Münchgesang’s view, for example, the image the public has of jobs in the hotel and hospitality industry also contributes to the industry’s employment problems. Here you see some catching up to straighten it out.

Intern Hannah Lehnert also did an internet research before beginning her training as a hotel clerk – and read a lot about the fact that interns only clean rooms all day. This did not deter her. And now it seems that her daily training is completely different.

The ambitious hotel employee especially likes that she already has a lot of personal responsibility and can get acquainted with many departments of the hotel: from accounting to room service to receiving goods. Don’t get bored there. “Accounting day is, of course, a lot different than a day at the bar — and it shows the complexity of the training,” she says.

Convergence of services is part of it

She even moved from Hamburg to Berlin for her training. Opening hours don’t bother her. “But it was a strange feeling to spend my first Christmas without my family.” It was helped that the hotel was decorated particularly festively and she felt right at home with her “new family” during the festive season.

According to Hannah Lehnert, anyone interested in training in a hotel should bring flexibility, a thirst for knowledge, and the ability to work in a team, among other things. And one thing is clear to her: “A certain affinity for services is of course part of it. It is about the guest having a good time.”

No time to pee? Test work provides information

If you are interested in getting vocational training, it is best to be really attentive during the application process. Schenk advises paying attention to the collective agreements in the job posting. It is also useful to have a business council and representatives of young people and trainees.

During the trial work, interested parties can gain insight into what to expect in the company. Schenk recommends looking at how people treat each other, whether there are enough staff and how high the stress level is.

What if the trainees made the wrong decision? Then, according to Schenk, a vocational school class is the best job exchange. Here the trainees get the raw truth about their coaching companies from their classmates.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220620-99-732913 / 6

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