Interview: Sandro Vella, Chef Patron at Step 15May 8, 2023
Food Photography by Tonio LombardiMay 15, 2023
In September 2022, in the accommodation and F&B service activities, which once again contributed mostly to the increase in both registered full-time and part-time employment, we had 26,000+ registered employees servicing almost 2.3 million tourists.
A figure which, as we have learned, is a recovery of 84%, compared to the 63% worldwide recovery; and the 79% recovery at European level. This is indeed a strong recovery which, whilst being acknowledged, we have to ground it in a number of challenging realities being faced by the industry including; the shortage of skills, the recruitment of untrained employees, and employment turnover.
Fieldwork in the sector reveals that a quality product, exceptional service and excellent experiences, are the result of a workforce together with a strong recovery scenario and training skills development. Our challenge is that of exceeding in training in order to obtain the desired results. Training is key in bridging the skills gap and restoring the necessary skill sets, in enhancing the productivity, efficiency and adaptability of the employee, the community and the industry at large.
It is not enough to acknowledge that training improves employee morale, helps employees become more proficient and reduces chances of error, and increases the level of performance and productivity. We are all aware that training improves employee retention and reduces turnover and addresses weaknesses and creates an overall knowledge and competent workforce.
Hence the need to collectively share and take the responsibility for an ongoing training culture. This is achievable if there is strategic investment in training - which is very beneficial if employee training becomes truly a priority and features more on top of our agendas. But only if we come together and create a culture of training, learning and development. Training should not be considered simply as an operational cost but rather as an investment, and there should be time and budget for training.
The ITS Training School
Our mission is that of (i) providing quality, up-to-date and relevant training courses; (ii) addressing the specific needs of our clients; (iii) adopting a flexible training timetable to meet the clients’ schedule; and (iv) performing an outstanding training delivery.
We provide both off-the-shelf and bespoke high quality and innovative training programmes to the industry. Our business is to uplift leadership and management, upskill the workforce and as a result upgrade the quality of service provision. Our co-designed and professionally delivered training courses are necessary tools for the industry to address the skills gap and restore the skill sets.
Our approach towards training is that a one-size-fits-all model fails to address the employees’ specific needs. Our training is accredited, varies from MQF Levels 1-6, is delivered face-to-face and online, and adopts reliable and valid assessments that are appropriate to our clients. Training is delivered either in our facilities or in the workplace.
We have a mix of training courses including:
- Employee Orientation and Onboarding Training (including basic Maltese and English, basic customer service skills, and cultural product)
- Leadership and Management Training
- Supervisory Level Training
- Hard Skills Training
- Soft Skills Training related to Hospitality and Tourism
- Sales and Upselling Training
- Health & Safety Training
- Quality Assurance Training
The starting point on various accounts is very encouraging.
Following a public expression of interest for the engagement of trainers, we had 41% eligible candidates from the Institute and the remaining 59% from outside ITS.
The profile of our trainers is very interesting with:
- 94% having 5 years or more experience in the industry
- 10% hold a first degree
- 72% have a Masters degree
- 2% obtained a Doctorate
During the first weeks of this year we delivered seven training courses ranging from F&B service to customer care for accommodation establishment employees, for front office personnel, and for supervisory personnel, training nearly 175 employees. We have other training confirmed and others being scheduled.
But, let’s be frank, how effective is our training?
4.85 out of 5 is the average rating for our delivered training courses, with 98% of respondents rated our training as good or very good.
95% of respondents would highly recommend training provided by ITS Training School to others.
- If we look at the feedback on the qualities of our trainers, we find that:
- 98.1% agree that trainers had good understanding of training area and effective delivery
- 96.1% agree that trainers were well prepared
- 92.2% agree that trainers had a professional approach
- 98% agree that trainers exhibited good training skills
Feedback on training objectives, content and assessment shows that:
- 92.2% agree that training met their expectations
- 90.2% agree that training material was the right level of complexity for the trainees’ background
- 96.1% agree that training content was relevant to the trainees’ needs
- 92.1% agree that assessment was fair
Feedback on training facilities and logistics is positive too:
- 90.2% agree that length and pace of training was appropriate
- 98% agree that duration of session/s was appropriate
- 96.1% agree that facilities were adequate
- 94.1% agree that equipment worked properly
ITS Training School is the industry’s training partner to mitigate the sector’s own needs and goals. We flexibly co-design and mold our expertise and the industry’s experience together to strategically upskill and reskill the workforce.
We also appeal for three collective actions in order to experience a successful skills journey for the benefit of the employee, the industry and the sector; that:
- together we build a training culture;
- together we progress towards the co-designing and developing of innovative and relevant training; and
- together we sharehold the implementation of the training culture.
Our training courses and services are all on www.trainingschool.its.edu.mt
and we can be reached by email email@example.com.
Click here to see Horeca Issue 11 online