What is the project about?
– We will investigate the importance of training in the hospitality industry and what it should look like to be optimal. The corona pandemic has hit the hospitality industry hard. When we, hopefully soon, can return to the ”new normal”, the need for training and skills may look different. Now, during and after the pandemic, we have the opportunity to examine the view of training in the industry from several aspects. We are looking for answers to how the industry views post-secondary and vocational education, if it is considered that the training programs are relevant, if they are valued, but also why the recent graduates are not attracted to work in it after completing their training.
What is the benefit for the hospitality industry?
– The hospitality industry has, at least until the pandemic, testified to major challenges linked to skills supply and development. There is a need for professionally trained staff and at the same time many problems are raised in recruiting employees with the right skills. Many students who begin a vocational training or adult education in the hotel and restaurant industry choose to take employment in industries other than the hospitality industry. There is obviously a gap here, a mistake in the matching, which we want to help bridge.
What result do you hope for?
– We will have a continuous dialogue with the industry, relevant public players and training providers throughout the project. Together, we will work out ideas about training options, which ones are needed, how educators can match what the industry needs and how the industry can absorb what the training provides? In this way, we spread results throughout the project period.
What are you going to do?
– We start by doing an analysis of job advertisements for hotels, hostels, bed & breakfasts and camping during 2006-2019 to see what skills, qualifications and possible education are in demand. After that, we will have focus group and individual interviews with employee and employer organizations, other industry organizations, destination companies as well as companies, training providers and students. At the end of the project, we will make an analysis of how the pandemic has hit the hospitality industry in terms of the skills that existed among the employees before, during and after the crisis. We will use register data that at the individual level shows background variables such as training and movement through the labor market over time.
What challenges do you see?
– The corona crisis is a challenge in itself. It can be difficult to get people to interview. Another is how we, together with the industry, educators and employees, can come to a common view of the role and value of training. It is necessary to create a sustainable tourism industry in the future.
About the researchers
Tara Duncan, project manager, professor of tourism science, Maria Thulemark, senior lecturer in cultural geography and Daniel Brandt, senior lecturer in cultural geography, all at Dalarna University.
Several students at the university will be research assistants in the project.
The reference group consists of the steering group at Besöksnärings College in Dalarna.