Industry Insight: The Importance of Internships to the Hospitality Industry

For those entering the industry, internships can prove essential in opening up opportunities. Employers often demonstrate a preference towards those who have real life experience over those who don’t. They are keen on recruiting people already operational, as this also fast tracks the training process.

Internships have always been popular among students and remain even more so in the difficult economic climate, when recruiters are looking for graduates who have already accumulated experience within the workplace. Internships are important to the hospitality industry as they offer a hands-on learning curve which, in turn, produces more effective employees. We refer to this as transformative education.

The transformative education process consists of developing full personal and professional potential and involves addressing six key areas of development. These are internationality, guided hands-on learning, professionalism in the workplace, progressive learning principles, soft skill development and ultimately, employability.

Internships provide an effective marker as to whether potential employees meet the high standards expected from the industry. They also offer an invaluable insight into what day-to-day working life involves and provide a taste of different areas within the industry.

Internships also highlight skill sets and individual strengths, enabling participants to make an informed decision on which areas of specializations they want to pursue. Nowadays, interns want to go into a variety of different fields, from general management to industry analysts, to sports and events management.

We believe that a combination of academic and real-world learning produces the best results. Getting the balance right enables graduates to step straight into a responsible position and start work immediately at a professional level. Professional and personal development is best achieved through a balance of practice and theory, providing the combination of skills that the industry demands.

In the market today this is especially important, with more specialized knowledge being required to retain that competitive edge, for example, with technology. Online booking and the growth of social media have changed the relationship between the customer and the provider. Today, guests are better and more informed. Employees always need to be one step ahead in terms of knowledge, skills, innovation and, as they say, the best way of learning is by doing.

Internships are important, both in terms of employability and creating future industry leaders. If employees are already operational when they start, this will fast track them in the right direction, achieving middle management and executive levels at an increased rate. Internships as a route to entry have a proven success rate. students, who undergo two semesters of compulsory internships as part of their degree programme, go on to be managers, general manager or directors in their career.


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