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Creating a learn-it-all culture

Posted on 13 May, 2019

Barmaid learning how to make drinks

With a widening skills shortage in hospitality, our MD, Jill Whittaker, explores how implementing a culture of learning across your business can help aid recruitment and retention…

“There’s lots of talk in the hospitality industry at the moment about recruiting to retain, in part because the supply of staff no longer allows for constant filling of the leaky bucket, and one of the most effective ways to retain employees is to invest in them and their skills. 

“People today have a thirst for knowledge, are hungry for more information, but how can individual businesses instil this growth mindset across their organisations? One way to do this is to adopt a culture of learning. 

“There are many benefits to creating a culture of learning within businesses, as employees are more likely to be motivated, have an improved skill set and develop quickly within their roles. It also opens up career paths both within a business and the industry as a whole – something particularly key for a sector facing an ongoing skills shortage. 

“One of the most effective ways to promote a culture of learning is through a robust training programme and this includes apprenticeships. 

“Why so? Our research shows that taking on apprentices has benefits well beyond simply gaining new members of staff. Hospitality professionals consider improving personal development for employees (63%), tackling the skills shortage in the industry (58%) and upskilling their workforce (44%) as the top three advantages of apprenticeships. 

“Apprenticeships are not just a route into the industry, with qualifications starting at entry level and going all the way up to degree and management, there are development and learning opportunities for all ages, roles and businesses.

“In fact, I have already seen a fundamental shift away from what used to be a know-it-all culture in favour of a learn-it-all culture, with people choosing on-the-job learning over classroom based. Specifically, in the hospitality industry, our research shows that 86.4% of professionals think apprenticeships are an effective route to a career in hospitality. 

“Hospitality is a very entrepreneurial industry; the sky is the limit and people can progress very quickly and at a young age. But, to enable people to do this and to flourish, we need to ensure the tools are in place to provide them with sound learning and development opportunities, not only to help them in their career journeys, but to protect the future of the sector.

“To ensure a vibrant future, hospitality businesses should encourage all employees to seek opportunities to grow and develop. What they learn not only helps where they work to thrive, but also grows the skillset of our entire industry.”

Click here for more information on our Don’t Waste: The Future of Hospitality campaign and to find out how you can use your Apprenticeship Levy to help create a culture of learning.



McMullen’s chose HIT as its sole external provider for Apprenticeships and vocational qualifications in early 2015 and since then we have found them a pleasure to work with.  Their expertise in this sector is superior and they have proven to be a professional and supportive partner who have a passion for learning and development, which matches our own organisation.

Amanda Walden – Training & Recruitment Manager, McMullen's

Encouraging our staff to improve their skills set and supporting them through apprenticeships and training programmes underlines our commitment to help them further develop their own careers. Offering the Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship also gives the Brend Group a point of difference which I’m convinced will help attract new members of staff in the future.

Andrew Mosedale - Group HR Manager, Brend Hotels

Our partnership with HIT has certainly made recruitment much easier in a very difficult labour market and gives us a point of difference in an increasingly competitive environment.  Kew Green has also benefited enormously from well trained, skilled and competent staff who contribute significantly to the ever improving and high levels of customer experience that our guests expect and deserve.

Andrew Tregenza - HR Business Partner, Kew Green Hotels

Apprenticeships allow us to give people a great opportunity to develop a career with us and learn a skill or trade that will accompany them throughout their career and life. We see progression to the Level 4 qualification as key to our strategy of providing development at all stages of an employee’s career with Harrison.

Alex Taylor - Training Manager, Harrison Catering Services

There is a shortage of skilled chefs within in our industry at present and any organisation that truly believes in the value of training and development of bright future stars will enable themselves to be in a strong position for the years ahead. Investing in smart training and development is at the heart of what we do within WSH, so it has been refreshing to work alongside HIT within our Baxterstorey Chef Academy. 

Rik Razza - Head of Chef Development, BaxterStorey


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