The numbers speak for themselves: according to a survey by the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce, more than half of all businesses in the hospitality sector were unable to fill their vacant apprenticeship places back in 2016. And the situation has taken a turn for the worse since. One thing is clear: the longer that business simply accept these circumstances, the more the situation will deteriorate.
An understandable lack of interest
It’s no secret: working conditions in the gastronomy sector are often far from ideal. Who wants to always be working when other people are having their time off? Staff shortages, poor planning and overtime often mean that workers are frustrated before they even start their shift. And last but not least, the pay cheque at the end of the month is yet another factor driving down motivation. In short: it is perfectly understandable that many young school-leavers are hardly even considering an apprenticeship in hospitality these days.
Apprenticeship vs studying
However, the lack of new trainees in the hospitality professions is not solely down to the supposedly poor conditions. Added to the already unattractive prospects in the gastronomy sector, there is also the general problem that occupations requiring formal training have become much less popular in recent years. More and more young people are choosing to study instead, hoping for more free time and better salaries.
And this trend is further reinforced by the option of dual study programmes. The question of whether you were better suited to theoretical or practical tasks used to be one of the key drivers behind young people deciding on either an apprenticeship or a degree course. Thanks to dual study programmes, this clear distinction no longer applies.
What options are available for marketing apprenticeships more effectively? What can companies do to make apprenticeships more attractive?
Companies should emphasise the benefits of apprenticeships more intensively. After all, the advantages that you can only get from being an apprentice are obvious:
- Maximum practical experience right from the start
- Autonomous work
- Financial independence, because trainees earn their own money from the beginning
- Strong probability of being taken on once training is complete
- Good job opportunities, including abroad, because the skills shortage is especially prominent in the apprenticeship professions
- It is still possible to study in addition to working once you complete your apprenticeship
Companies also have to learn to put more focus on the advantages that they themselves offer. What do they do differently and better than other companies? What makes them unique? How is team spirit fostered and encouraged? The most dedicated trainees can even be nominated by their bosses for awards such as the System Catering Apprentice Award from the German federal hotel and restaurant association DEHOGA [https://www.gastronomie-report.de/azubi-award-dehoga/]. This is a great way for up-and-coming talent to be recognised and appreciated.
Giving extra support to trainees
And why not take things further? A poor school-leaving certificate – or even none at all – does not necessarily mean that an apprentice will lack motivation in their work. There are various national and regional programmes aimed at helping young people improve their job-access qualifications or guiding them in their professional and private lives during their training. Programmes like these give young people additional support and help them find their place in the world of work. And if their work is also fun, both sides benefit: there’s nothing to stop a long-term working relationship.
Read more about this topic in the next posts in our series “The skills shortage – the major challenge in the gastronomy sector”:
- If it goes on like this, kitchens will be closed.
- Employer branding: smartening up for employees
- Thinking outside the box: taking a new approach to finding employees
- Retaining staff instead of constantly seeking new ones: inspiring and obtaining employee loyalty
- Automated and digital: the kitchen of the future