Attitudes towards training within the hospitality industry in southeast Wales
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Training within the hospitality industry is a widely-debated issue with different stakeholders having differing views depending on their background and representation in the debate. This industry is therefore no different to other industries in the opinions that predominate. What is clear however is that the hospitality industry in the UK is currently suffering from an acute skills shortage. This study is concerned with analysing the attitudes of some of these key stakeholders towards the types of training that are employed in hospitality, and whether these approaches are suitable as training paradigms. The study focuses specifically on attitudes in Southeast Wales amongst employers, educators and training providers using a case-study methodology. The research was undertaken in three phases. The first two phases of the study were concerned with assessing the attitudes of the employers. In phase 1 local employers were initially questioned using a focus-group approach. The results informed phase 2 which involved a series of individual interviews with employers from a range of hospitality sectors (including hotels, restaurants, fast-food outlets, public houses, motorway service stations, and catering services outlets) across Southeast Wales. A typology of the vocational training models used in the different sectors, with clear identification of the perceived effectiveness and acceptability of these models to the different employer groups, was developed. The research findings from phase 1 and phase 2 were also developed into a pictogram which represents the key features influencing training within SMEs and larger hospitality companies. A recurring theme during the first two phases was the contrasting employer attitudes towards NVQs as a suitable training model. Phase 3 of the research explored these attitudes further by involving other stakeholders involved in NVQ delivery – the educators and training providers - as well as assessing whether attitudes in Southeast Wales are different to, or representative of, a larger geographical area. A series of individual interviews were therefore conducted with educators and training providers in Southeast Wales, the rest of Wales, and England. The results indicated that attitudes do not differ based on location, but instead several key themes were identified that were common to the participants. Phase 3 of the research also involved a quantitative approach to explore these themes more fully using a larger sample size. An e-questionnaire was sent to representative further education lecturers, higher education lecturers, and training providers across Wales and England. The results concluded that there are perceived strengths with the NVQ model, but that the weaknesses are significant and many respondents would welcome the introduction of an alternative training model. The study concludes by proposing an alternative model and making recommendations for future developments in hospitality skills training.
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