FEDHASA Cape, the official voice and representative of the hospitality industry, recently held a Youth Event at the Peninsula Hotel in Cape Town – hosted by Youth Segment Chair Jamie Pieters. The event served to highlight the relevance of youth within the hospitality industry, as well as promote the role that FEDHASA Cape plays in supporting young people in their careers.
Pieters says: “The primary objective of FEDHASA Cape Youth is to identify up-and-coming leaders and provide them with the opportunity to not only shape their careers – but the industry itself. A seat on the board of FEDHASA Cape allows young people to be actively involved in an organisation viewed by government as the official industry representative.”
Pieters explains that a key focus of the segment is to promote a career in hospitality, and thus the event highlighted opportunities available to youth working towards this. “The industry has grown in the last few years and where entry into the industry via a registered qualification was an expensive option 10 years ago, this is no longer the case,” explains Pieters.
“Most tertiary institutions offer bursaries to students who struggle financially, and FEDHASA Cape is instrumental in providing financial support to these institutions. The government has also become increasingly involved in the growth of the industry, allowing previously disadvantaged youth to obtain a qualification and work experience through CATHSSETA. Opportunities for entry are now almost limitless.”
However, the hospitality industry still faces its challenges in terms of attracting youth, as a career in hospitality is sometimes perceived as ‘thankless work’; long hours and low wages. Pieters believes that this is changing.
“There is a great progression in terms of how the industry is viewed, and this is reflected by the increasing number of young people choosing to pursue a career in hospitality. Much has changed since the days of the ‘old guard’ – I actually met a hotel receptionist the other day who had worked there for three years and had never experienced what it was like to work a ‘double’!” laughs Pieters.
“That brief conversation revealed just how far we have come; it is no longer the low-paying, over-worked industry it once was. Hospitality offers opportunity for growth at a much faster pace than most industries, as well as the ability to earn a decent income whilst travelling and working.
“We need to enlist the support of more businesses, schools and youth organisations to become involved in promoting the industry for what it is today – and not as the default choice for a school leaver who can’t decide what they would like to do with their life. Working in hospitality is an exciting, lucrative and rewarding career path,” concludes Pieters.