Students are settling into university life and being inspired by the learnings from their lecturers. We took time out of a busy day to chat to Brendan Moffett who is the Director of the University of Derby’s Centre for Contemporary Hospitality and Tourism.
The University of Derby is one of the partners on our Educational Membership Scheme and it’s always fantastic to discover more about these organisations and how they are using our membership to help get hospitality careers off to a flying start.
Tell us about your education establishment and what you offer your students
The University of Derby offers further and higher education in a wide choice of subject areas at our campuses in Derby, Buxton, Chesterfield and Leek. Rated Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework 2017 and a Top 30 UK University in the Guardian University Guide 2020, our academic strength is backed up by practical experience to ensure our students are ready for a successful career, wherever their talents lie. With more than £200 million invested in the last ten years, we offer some of the best university facilities in the UK.
As Derbyshire’s only university, we use our academic expertise, research and innovation to foster talent and promote links with businesses regionally, nationally and globally. In addition to traditional degree routes, our apprenticeships, continuing professional development, knowledge transfer and sector-leading online courses create opportunities for individuals, employers and communities to develop and flourish.
The University of Derby is home to more than 20,000 students, with over 900 international students from over 100 countries.
How do you help attract people to have a career in hospitality?
At the University’s Centre for Contemporary Hospitality and Tourism, based at our Buxton Campus, we offer a range of courses to students who aim to work in hospitality disciplines such as events management, tourism, culinary arts and spa and wellness management.
We have developed very strong relationships with leading industry players in order to offer our students the best placements, work experience and graduate employment opportunities. Our graduates go on to develop successful careers in the hospitality industry. For example, Elijse Hugo, one of our BA (Hons) International Hospitality Management graduates, is now a Tasting Room Manager at a prestigious wine farm in South Africa. She credits the reputation of the University of Derby for helping her secure this position: “Studying at the University of Derby had the biggest impact on my job in Cape Town. I was told directly that my degree, with the practical experience built into it, really made a difference.”
George Tanos, a graduate in Culinary Arts and Management, has worked in Michelin-starred kitchens in London and is now the sous chef at the prestigious Skibo Castle in Scotland. George puts his success down to the opportunities he got while studying, to work with industry: “The University of Derby referred me to some wonderful places to work and really allowed me to network within the industry.”
What’s been your biggest success story?
The University of Derby has a partnership with The Swiss Hotel Management School – a modern, private Swiss institution of higher education, with a philosophy “dedicated to teaching quality hospitality management programmes, which meet the needs of today’s hospitality industry” and setting standards for the future.
The centre has been developed as a “learning resort” for their programmes delivered in association with the University of Derby. This will allow the further development of a specialist campus with a clear focus on University of Derby programmes and the academic needs of undergraduate and postgraduate students.
What do you think is the ideal recipe to encourage learning?
In a supportive pastoral environment, happy students always perform best. Being taught by academics who have a passion for the industry and strong connections is vital. It is also important that academics build confidence in their students to show them that everything is possible.
What do you think has been the biggest change to the hospitality industry over the last ten years?
The Tourism Sector Deal is a unique opportunity for the industry to move forward. Tourism is acknowledged by the government as being a key sector in the UK economy and we have got to seize the opportunities of the Deal ensuring that education and industry are aligned.
Technology is the biggest driver of change in the sector, the challenge is to keep the human touch and use the technology to better understand customer preferences and deliver new innovative products.
Tell us three personality traits students should have to succeed in hospitality and why they are so important
Passion – we often say that hospitality is a true vocation, having a passion for great customer service and high-quality experiences will take you a long way.
Resilience – the hospitality industry is often a demanding dynamic customer-facing environment, so students will need to be able to take the knocks along the way.
Authenticity – people buy people and those who flourish in the sector are often authentic and have a strong belief in their product.
What’s the biggest challenge the industry is facing right now and how can you help overcome this?
According to a report by KPMG (2017), to attract more UK workers to the hospitality industry the sector will need to introduce or extend apprenticeships and graduate schemes and increase training offerings. Leading industry players such as People 1st and UK Hospitality have suggested encouraging universities to convert existing Hospitality Management three-year residential degree courses into degree apprenticeships – this needs the support of employers and is a good use of the Apprenticeship Levy.
According to Visit Britain, the number of young people on level 2, 3 and 4 apprenticeships exceeds 20,000. The challenge is to progress this young talent to degree level, providing the industry with the innovation and management skills needed to drive further productivity.
Have you got any fascinating facts about the University of Derby?
The University of Derby has a number of famous honorands. Chef Maf Fischer was awarded an honorary degree in recognition of his services to the hospitality industry and the impact of his Michelin-Star restaurant, Fischer’s – Baslow Hall, in Derbyshire and nationally.
Derby-born celebrity chef and restaurant owner Sat Bains is also an honorand. He was presented an honorary degree of Doctor of Professional Practice in 2010.
How does membership to the Institute of Hospitality help your college or university?
The membership provides support for curriculum development and information on trends in the sector. Students enjoy using the online resources. The Institute of Hospitality also provides support with mentors for students.
Fancy getting involved?
The Institute has partnerships with hospitality schools across the world through our Education Membership Scheme (EMS). If your place of study is on the scheme, they have sponsored membership for you, so you can register now for free!
If you are not eligible for this, don’t worry as we invite all other students to join for just £25 per year. You can view the list of current members here.