As the hospitality and tourism sectors gear up to fully re-open later this month a Devon college is hoping to change the perception of jobs in the sector.
South Devon College offers a range of hospitality and tourism qualifications and says that jobs in the sector shouldn’t be seen as just a stop gap but as a career with good opportunities for progression.
Currently there are more than 1,000 tourism businesses in Torbay employing over 12,000 people and that’s set to increase with multi-million pound investments in new hotels across the Bay.
“The time for choosing a career in the tourism and hospitality sector has never been better,” said Lynn Stephens, head of leisure and hospitality industries at South Devon College and chair of the English Riviera Destination Management Plan Group.
“We have so many opportunities coming to the Bay with the reopening of existing businesses, the new brands and investments into the visitor economy, aligned with huge growth projected for UK staycations.
“Anyone who is interested in training or upskilling will have an exciting range of career paths opening up in the coming months and years”.
Ollie Williamson, chef and co-owner of Ollie’s in Torquay, studied at South Devon College and says he learnt a lot on his course that still helps him today.
“I was never academic and always wanted to be a chef,” explained 28 year old Ollie, whose family ran the Tudor Rose café in Torquay for many years.
“I studied at South Devon College for two and a half years and I had a great mentor there and the college gave me a lot of support and structure. They also have great local and national connections and I learnt management skills, managing large groups, costings of menus and dealing with people, all skills I need to run my business.”
The English Riviera attracts 4.5 million visitors a year generating £435m and that figure is expected to grow as more international companies invest in the region.
Hotel group Accor is just one of several building new hotels in Torbay. Kayleigh Ryan, talent acquisition director for Northern Europe with Accor, said there are up to 150 job opportunities at their hotels alone.
She said: “The job opportunities are across reservations, reception, facilities, maintenance and food and beverage. Then you have more senior opportunities in management or at supervisor levels.”