In the world of hospitality education, instructors take center stage. They're the game-changers that fuel hospitality schools and companies to thrive in the face of industry's ever-evolving demand. Having instructors who are also good teachers is essential to satisfy the needs of upcoming generations of students and professionals in training: Instructors are the ones who not only know their stuff but can also ignite a passion in the next wave of students and budding professionals.

This dual role is especially challenging because teaching the art of hospitality is complex. It’s a balancing act between teaching professional skills, instilling the right attitudes, and upholding academic rigor. These instructors have one foot in the industry and one in the academic world, facing the latest challenges and trends in both. To meet these demands, hospitality instructors need training that is on par with the level of education they are expected to deliver.

For this purpose, EHL offers Vocational Education & Training (VET) licensing. This ready-to-deliver solution allows learning centers and organizations to implement Swiss hospitality training programs. It includes teacher development according to EHL standards and certifying them to deliver high-quality hospitality courses. Thereby, VET solves two of the industry’s biggest challenges: it forms educators who can train the next generation of much-needed hospitality professionals, and it prepares students to be ready for successful hospitality careers.


The hospitality industry labor & training shortage

For a few years now, the hospitality industry has been facing an unprecedented labor shortage and major skill gaps in its workforce. Even before COVID-19 precipitated a mass exodus from the sector, the hospitality industry was struggling to recruit and retain qualified professionals.

And things have gotten worse. According to the WTTC’s Economic Impact Report of 2023, the industry recovered 11MN jobs in 2021 and created 21.6MN new jobs in 2022 to reach more than 295MN globally, meaning approximately one in 11 jobs worldwide. That’s a ton of new jobs, and for each job that’s a person to train, a hospitality graduate to hire, or a manager who must double as a trainer. The missing qualified trainers are a silently massive number hidden within the industry’s fast recovery.

Why is it so hard to hire and retain (and train) hospitality professionals? According to the EHL Hospitality Industry Outlook 2023 report, the industry suffers from a bad reputation based on the industry’s often stressful working environments, frequent overtime requirements, and relatively low salaries. To that, add the challenges of fast-changing work requirements and low levels of entry-level training, and we see why the industry needs help.

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The solution to part of this problem lies in better training and education. The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) published the following strategic recommendations to make the industry more attractive to jobseekers: “facilitating labor mobility and remote working, providing safety nets, upskilling and reskilling the workforce and retaining talent, and creating and promoting education and apprenticeships.”

Clearly, education and training delivered by qualified instructors is a major part of the solution to the industry’s talent shortage and job skills gaps.



The benefits of hospitality instructor training

Instructor training can significantly enhance the quality of education offered by a learning center or organization. In hospitality, professionals who become teachers and instructors definitely know their jobs well, but they sometimes need some help in teaching others.

The best training for hospitality instructors focuses on both professional industry standards and teaching methodologies that empower trainers to be confident and engaged in their educator role.

The benefit of such training is clear: well-trained instructors contribute more efficiently and effectively to student success, career readiness, and industry relevance.

One good example comes from the Bhutan International School of Hospitality and Tourism (BISHT), the first EHL VET center to open its doors. According to the case study,

The development of a strong talent pool actively recruited by local businesses in Bhutan allowed that 95% of graduates were placed throughout the country and abroad, with 60% of them directly hired by local industries and internationally.

Challenges in hospitality instructor training

While the benefits of having well-trained instructors are clear, many educational institutions face challenges when it comes to training instructors effectively. The most common obstacles are limited resources, time constraints, and outdated training methods.

Resources & Time Constraints: This combined problem can be solved by persuading governing boards and stakeholders of the positive impacts of investing in teacher development. Organizational leaders have to see the allocation of time and resources for vocational education training as an investment in future prosperity.

Outdated methods: Some organizations struggle to train instructors for vocational programs because their training methods are not aligned with the modern workforce and trends. Likewise, some workers and trainers may be unprepared or unable to adopt new technology and strategies within the classroom.

A contemporary training model, such as VET, is even more relevant and essential for these professionals and educators. The VET model offers an ideal solution for minimal resources and time by offering cost-effective and efficient training programs.

In light of the rapidly changing job market, the European Center for the Development of Vocational Training stated that approximately half of the workers in the EU and SEET region may need reskilling or upskilling to adapt to changing work realities. Offering VET programs now gives both instructors and students a head start to guarantee their competitiveness in the job market for decades to come.


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Tailored hospitality instructor training programs

Qualifications and credentials of any organization’s manpower are determining factors of success. Likewise, delivering training programs that are specifically tailored to the needs of hospitality industry instructors and educators is of paramount importance.

Well-branded and high-quality: EHL’s VET model requires teachers to be well-trained course facilitators and subject-matter experts. The VET course facilitator training enables teachers and programs to meet the minimum required criteria set by the governmental agencies or institutional partners in order to assert their reputation and obtain certification.

Customized training modules: Courses that focus on targetted areas, both for pedagogical skills and industry knowledge, are ideal. The VET by EHL licensing requires each trainer to undergo the EHL-delivered Train the Trainer Program. This training shifts the focus from the traditional concepts of teaching to developing skills for course facilitation, which is all about guiding and helping students to learn on their own. This method of imparting skills and knowledge empowers instructors to deliver more engaging and relevant lessons.

The train-the-trainer (TTT) model used by VET is highly efficient and cost-effective when it comes to helping faculty or professionals develop the skills they need to teach and train others. The benefits of this training positively impact learning center outcomes in many ways, mainly increased education quality, student retention rates, student engagement, and productivity for trainers.


Collaboration with industry & hospitality education partners

Collaborating with strong industry partners offers many advantages for developing vocational education programs and instructor training.

On one hand, partnerships with hotels, restaurants, and other hospitality industry actors offer real-world insights and expertise. On the other, international education partnerships are an ideal solution for facilitating vocational program development with high academic standards and brand reputation. In the case of VET by EHL, the partnership gives schools access to EHL’s vast professional network for instructor recruitment.

For example, to help address the hospitality industry skill gap issue in India and strengthen India’s position as a leader in global hospitality, ITC Hotels and the CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) partnered with EHL to launch VET by EHL Professional Diploma Programs, with excellent results.


Many such success stories exist among EHL’s worldwide network of VET partners, proving that such cooperation sets local institutions on the path to success by strengthening their industry connections and academic reputation.


Utilizing Technology for Hospitality Educator Training

As with many areas of life these days, technology plays a key role in contemporary hospitality instructor training. With e-learning platforms, virtual simulations, and other digital resources, learning centers can enhance training effectiveness for students of all ages.

Digitalization creates a unique opportunity for hospitality education to become more widely available to students. With the development of new technologies comes the opportunity for practical learning with a remote approach. Ideally, more students can learn from more experts and professionals from all corners of the world. Practical classes can develop a whole new range of attractive solutions through VR and AI, making learning more fun and more accessible.

Consider the case of Sri Lanka’s SHMA (Swiss Hotel Management Academy), which launched VET by EHL programs via an asset-light model that brought education and industry partners together for the first time. To train and teach both students and educators, SHMA partnered with Colombo’s finest hotels: Cinnamon Grand, Cinnamon Lakeside, Taj Samudra, Galle Face Hotel and Shangri-La, and it utilized remote learning tools to replace the traditional brick-and-mortar school setting and classroom environment. With the help of remote learning technologies, the initiative flourished in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts.


Empowering the Future of Hospitality Education

In conclusion, we can see that quality instructors for hospitality education are essential for the future growth of the hospitality industry. Additionally, more diverse and far-reaching hospitality education is essential to address the challenges and trends occurring in both the hospitality industry and education sectors.

Hospitality desperately needs more well-trained professionals and quality instructors: The skill gaps and talent shortages in the hospitality industry are at record high levels, revealing a dire need for more professional training options (i.e. on-the-job training, short courses, remote learning opportunities). VET programs that deliver targetted training and produce ready-to-work graduates in a valuable solution for this challenge. Consequently, more trained instructors are also needed, and they will continue to be in high demand in the coming years.

Vocational education is the key: It’s both essential to industry growth and gaining popularity among the newest generations of students, as with Gen Z in particular. As vocational education and training can be done in a variety of settings, like apprenticeships or vocational schools, it’s an ideal solution for students to carry out their education while also supplying the industry with new talent and opportunities to shape the future of hospitality education.

Positive long-term impacts: Investing in instructor training now increases the quality of graduates and industry relevance of hospitality education for the decades to come. In tourism-developing countries and regions, it’s essential for industry growth, job creation, and a better distribution of economic wealth. For long-established hospitality organizations, hotel chain groups, and luxury hospitality brands, it’s a huge advantage to have well-trained trainers and ready-to-work incoming staff. The economic impact can be huge as proper training can reduce employee turnover and absenteeism, and make staff and trainees more efficient and effective.

Overall, it’s clear that hospitality education providers and hospitality businesses must prioritize ongoing education and instructor training as a means to continuously elevate their offer. While financial resources and time are some of the biggest deterrents to investing in this training, failing to commit to it will also prove to be a costly mistake. Partnering with a comprehensive education supplier, such as with EHL’s VET licensing model, creates solutions for these challenges and creates many opportunities for hospitality training to grow around the world.

For more examples of how VET programs are shaping the world of hospitality, read more about this subject on our blog. 

Written by

VET Content and Learning Experience Coordinator at EHL

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Ask our Vocational Education & Training experts

EHL helps institutions launch new programs by offering ready-to-deliver hospitality training programs.

Upcoming generations of hospitality professionals want a career in a sector that’s attractive, purposeful, and offers a good work-life balance. Hence, when addressing the current hospitality labor shortage or inventing new hotel offers based on emotionally rich experiences, it is no coincidence that the human component is at the center, driving solutions and innovation forward.
Markus Venzin, CEO EHL Group
This program provides students with a splendid opportunity to skill and re-skill themselves with an international curriculum closer to home and contribute to the immense hospitality and tourism potential of the state. This Swiss Professional Diploma Program will place them on par, if not above, with students from leading hospitality schools in India, with the benefit of on-the-job training.
Nilesh Mitra, Vice President, Talent Management, ITC Hotels.
Although lockdown learning may have its disadvantages, our learning approach also has a positive impact. Those who come to us for upskilling and reskilling, already in the workforce, have found many advantages in the flexibility that we offer through tools and technology we can use to deliver remote learning and support online collaborations. As well, they will have extraordinarily fine-tuned skills in working digitally, which is very important.
Mr Florian Ramesh Costa, F&B senior lecturer at SHMA.