The Northern Ireland Branch of the Institute of Hospitality hosted an inspirational conference at St George’s Market last week to over 300 hospitality students.
The annual event, known as ‘Home Grown and Growing’ highlights the endless opportunities for students to thrive in the exciting and expanding hospitality sector and provides an interactive platform for players in the hospitality industry to directly and actively engage with students, educators and trainers.
The recent opening of so many new hotels and restaurants in Belfast clearly indicates how the hospitality sector is a growth industry and this conference highlighted the benefits of choosing hospitality as a career.
Marianne Hood FIH, Chair of the Northern Ireland Branch, says:
We hope that our student conference has encouraged and inspired these undergraduates that talented people rise fast, if they have the right attitude. Events like this help to get the message out to young people that the hospitality industry has changed for the better over recent years. Working conditions are improving, including better working hours, as are rates of pay. We must change the intimidating image of the professional kitchen. If we want our hospitality industry to thrive, we need to make it an attractive career prospect for young people. We all need to create pathways to match skilled students up with the right roles in a sector that so desperately needs them.”
“Belfast is the number one city in the UK for hotel investment, with an additional 3,000 rooms anticipated by 2021 and an ambition to double the value of the tourism sector by 2020. Economic research shows the local hospitality sector will need to recruit an extra 2,000 chefs and will have 30,000 vacancies to fill by 2025 to cope with demand. One of the most coveted award categories at The Institute of Hospitality Northern Ireland Awards, which take place in May 2019, is the Student Management Potential Award and with the calibre of students at the conference today I’m sure we have a lot of strong contenders. ”
This year’s student conference incorporated another exciting dimension with cookery demonstrations from:
Walter Ewing from Ewings Fish;
Ian Hunter from Belfast Cookery School;
Joery Castel from The Old Inn in Crawfordsburn
Plus Cocktail masterclass from Frankie Cosgrove and Lee McCluskey from The Bullitt Hotel and Babel.
The list of speakers included:
Adrienne Hanna from Right Revenue
Caitriona Lennox from The Mount Charles Group;
Damian Gilvary from The George Best Hotel,
Mags McAlpin from Creating Retail Magic,
Ryan McFarland from Molson Coors,
Sarah Jade Jamison,The Merchant Hotel,
Sean McLaughlin from The Fullerton Arms
Stephen Meldrum from The Grand Central Hotel.
The student conference simultaneously helped to raise awareness of the Institute of Hospitality’s nominated charity, The Anthony Nolan Trust, a charity that works in the areas of leukaemia and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.