Speaking to young adults about the industry is essential Speaking to young adults about the industry is essential

The importance of showcasing the hospitality industry as an attractive career to young adults should not be underestimated, said the experts.

During the Great GM Debate advisory panel roundtable, hoteliers talked about going into schools and universities, and also tapping into the interest of nationals to join the industry.

Holiday Inn Dubai Festival City general manager Patria Puyat said: “IHG goes into schools. We have a lot of the ladies and gentlemen come and do training with us – internships for two months for a summer. We accept Grade 11 and 12, and they go into IT, marketing, sales – there are many things [to do].” She emphasised it was important to work on initiatives like this because the perception of any industry comes through in their formative years.

Emaar Hospitality Group chief executive officer Olivier Harnisch added: “To go back to your point Patria, we had a presentation at a school recently and from there were got 13 direct applications for internships this summer – they said they had no idea [about these opportunities] previously. So it shows we have work to do.”

The other issue is related to recruiting nationals. Harnisch noted: “What do we do as hotel companies to increase the number of Emiratis in the business? We need to do this collectively. There is a misperception about the business because, not just Emiratis, but people everywhere associate the hotel business with four jobs, cooking, serving, reception and cleaning, whereas a big hotel has 50 different jobs so we need to convey that. We are going to schools and presenting the hospitality industry to high school students to show to them that it’s a super attractive industry. It’s more than cooking and cleaning, it’s much more."

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