Fairlawns Hotel & Spa has an excellent track record for staff development. Their ongoing commitment showcases the hospitality sector’s unique appeal and ability to deliver transferrable skills suitable for all industries.
The four-star, family-run business has a long-standing relationship with Walsall College. Chefs run masterclasses for professional cookery and hospitality students in bespoke kitchens on campus.
The hotel also provides work placements in their restaurant, food and beverage and reception areas. These opportunities pave the way for front of house and kitchen staff to strive for more professionally.
“Work experience enables us to develop our employees, as well as the students” said Managing Director, John Pette. “Staff are utilising their expertise in an alternative way. They are demonstrating techniques to someone new to a professional kitchen and building a rapport with them.
“We’ve seen first-hand how these interactions help staff work well with other chefs and managers. This results in career progression that helps employees become even more loyal to our business.”
In addition, the placements lead to the hotel being presented with high potential, workforce candidates.
“Through Walsall College, we have access to new talent that often bring fresh ideas and approaches,” said John. “This enhances our services and menu and, in turn, our business.”
“We have recruited many students from Walsall College. Our Head Chef, Chris is a former student, who started as a commis chef and worked his way up. He now trains our work experience students and apprentices, showing them how they can manage their time, multi-task and work effectively with the team.”
John is aware that the hospitality industry is not without its critics. It is why the hotel makes every effort to value their staff, particularly in light of the pandemic.
“Pre-Covid, this sector was facing criticism for a culture of long hours and zero hours contracts,” John continued. “That’s not something we endorse.
“The pandemic has made us step back and look at what we can do to continue supporting our customers in the best possible way without overwhelming our staff. Their wellbeing is important to us.”
Encouraging staff to be inspired and motivated is the key benefit to Fairlawns partnership with Walsall College, according to John.
“Hospitality offers clear, seamless progression opportunities for its workers,” said John. “It’s great when students, trainees and existing staff see this happening all around them. It instils the belief that they too can grow and go further.”
John added: “Our sector also deserves recognition for equipping people with work-ready skills and a business-focused mindset useful to a cross-section of employers. This is why businesses should not underestimate the potential in offering local students a helping hand as they’re starting out. Employers and colleges need to work together to nurture and retain talent.”