Monday, February 17, 2014

A warm welcome to the hospitality industry through introductory courses

You may be familiar with that story of a maid in Manhattan who rose to the top from being a housekeeper to top management. Yes, it’s a movie, but it is more than that for many people, no matter what career they are in. There have been success stories of entry-level workers climbing the corporate ladder to become one of the most successful and powerful people of all time. It is a familiar theme in the service industry, since the workload is vast and employees need to be familiar with every facet of an organization.

Andrew Petrou, a professor at Centennial College, says that education can help support students in their career, but it is their hard work and dedication that will help them in achieving some of the their goals. He says, “With the effort put in from the individual, you have to be driven. You have to have the drive and understanding and focus of what you want to achieve.” Petrou is one of the experienced faculty members who teach Centennial’s hospitality courses at School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culture.

One of the certificate programs in this hospitality college is the Hospitality Services (1819) program. Within one year, students will become job-ready, full of knowledge and skills pertaining to the hospitality industry. With 12 courses and two field placements, students can enjoy an inclusive learning environment with a work setting where they can practice their skills hands-on. Petrou says, “It allows students from different circumstances to take a college certificate that allows them to sample the world of hospitality.”

“(The program) is great for students that may not otherwise have the opportunity to get a job on their own. It helps to orient them with the basics of hospitality in its business from hotels to restaurants,” says Bruce Haden-Leblanc, another Centennial faculty member. Students who want to explore the hospitality industry flock to this introductory program. The classes are comprised of many learners who have special needs, and this hospitality management program is very intuitive to the industry needs, that it provides students with specific skills.

The hands-on experience has been a stronghold for this program. Taught by experienced faculty, each course was designed to meet industry practices. Starting in the first semester, a field placement takes place to orient students to the working world, while learning valuable courses. In the second semester, a kitchen-dining lab practice takes place. Seven weeks are spent in the kitchen, assisting chefs with kitchen operations, while another seven weeks is dedicated to the dining room, where students practice their customer service skills by taking orders and serving guests.

Students gain plenty of academic and practical training in their classes and field placements within eight months at Centennial. The Hospitality Services program is broad in its teachings, allowing students to pursue various career paths in the hospitality industry. Some of the courses are involved in learning procedures in the front desk, visitor information services, beverage service, kitchen and dining room, and room attending. Graduates are ready to apply to restaurants, hotels, catering companies and other organizations in the hospitality and tourism industry.

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