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Should our 2022 Grade 12’s pursue a career in Hospitality post-COVID?

With final exams almost in the rearview mirror for the Grade 12s of 2022, their thoughts will inevitably be turning to the future and their choice of careers in a post-Covid world. The hospitality sector took a massive knock during the pandemic and those who have long dreamt of a future showcasing their culinary skills at a Michelin-star restaurant, planning celebrity weddings or working at a 5-star beach resort may be second-guessing their career choice, but Shaun Lamont, Managing Director of First Group Hotels and Resorts, advises them not to give up on their dreams.

“It’s no secret that the hospitality and tourism industry took a severe beating during Covid. Jobs were lost, hospitality properties were closed and initially, recovery was slow,” says Shaun. “However, the sectors’ resilience, determination and adaptability ensured its survival and we are seeing a massive resurgence of tourism in the country. This turnaround should serve as an encouragement to all young people who have set their sights on a career in this dynamic industry.”

The upward trajectory in tourist arrivals and stays across South Africa confirms the steady recovery of the sector. Statistics SA reports that arrivals between January and May this year increased by a whopping 480% from last year’s figures over the same period. And results from the Bureau for Economic Research (BER) Other Services survey for the third quarter of 2022, corroborate that the local hospitality industry continues to show positive growth.

If that’s not enough to convince you, here are Shaun’s top five reasons why a career in hospitality is a great choice:

1. Travel the world

Hospitality is one of the biggest employers in the world. Within the next three years, it has been predicted that globally one out of every 10 people will work in the sector. So, if you build a career in hospitality, you’ll be able to live and work anywhere you choose. The world really is your oyster!

2. So many career options

With so many diverse and dynamic work environments and career avenues available, you will never be short of choices. From hotels to cruise ships, tourism to entertainment – in roles such as chef, hotel manager, tour guide, event planner, restaurant manager, and travel agent – the options are endless and there are plenty of opportunities to climb the ladder.

3. Transferrable skills

The skills you will acquire while studying or working in hospitality can be used in almost any industry. Generally, people who work in the sector have customer service skills that are off the charts. These skills alone are in great demand in the business world. Coupled with the everyday skills you’ll develop in risk and crisis management, marketing, finance and project management, will be of value wherever you go.

4. Earn while you learn

If studying isn’t currently an option for you, you may want to consider a traineeship. Working in a real business such as a restaurant, hotel, pub, club or catering company will help you acquire knowledge that can go towards a qualification and earn you money at the same time. You’ll get hands-on, practical experience in a working environment with real responsibilities.

5. Not your average 9 to 5

If you are not the type who fancies rigid office hours, the hospitality industry is ideal as it’s pretty common to have flexible work schedules. You will never be bored either as no two days will be the same – ever!

Shaun says that the main reason why he enjoys the hospitality and tourism sector is that it’s fun. With all the dynamics, different responsibilities and the opportunity to make guests smile while they are making magical, lasting memories, the hospitality and tourism sector offers the Class of 2022 an incredibly rewarding career where they can excel.

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