With mountains, islands, oceans, and tons of tourists every year, it’s no surprise that the Hospitality industry is booming. In fact, more than 9.3 million people visited Vancouver in 2015, accounting for approximately $6.1 billion dollars for the Vancouver economy (Tourism Vancouver, 2016). If you’re considering a career change or looking to launch into your first job, a Hospitality school in Vancouver might be a great choice for you!
To make sure you’re picking the right program, at the right school, in the right city – ask yourself some important questions and consider what steps you need to take.
To help take some of the stress out of the process, we’ve compiled the definitive list of questions you need to ask yourself before enrolling in a Hospitality school.
1. Are You A Hospitality Person?
You probably already know this – working in hospitality takes a certain personality. You’ve encountered Hospitality people at your local coffee shop or even when you went out with family for dinner last night.
As many positions starting out in the hospitality industry are client-facing roles, you need to be a people person. Smiling under adversity comes naturally to you and you never let them see you sweat. You’re a hard worker who enjoys helping people from every walk of life. As a hospitality worker, you’ll encounter people from all over the world so being a great communicator is also a key trait.
Do you relate to the above statements? If so, great! You’re a great fit for the industry. If not, don’t worry; the hospitality industry also has opportunities behind-the-scenes that might be right for you.
Did we mention this industry provides over:
66,000 full-time jobs in BC.
(Tourism Vancouver, 2016)
2. How long do you have to dedicate to school?
If you’re someone that is looking to find a program that provides flexibility, Hospitality programs have several options when it comes to its duration.
If you’re you an entry-level worker with little-to-no work experience, then be willing to dedicate anywhere from 6-9 months for career training. On the other hand, if you already have a few years of work experience, then you may find that a shorter and more condensed program can help you land a job sooner.
No matter your experience or educational background, it’s always good to access the industry requirements and what you need to do to meet them. With this in mind, you’ll be able to plan out your year and measure your success after you’ve enrolled.
3. Do you want on-the-job training?
Hospitality schools normally offer students the opportunity to partake in career-related work experience in the form of co-ops or practicums.
A practicum allows students to experience first-hand training in real work environments, working directly with professionals in the industry of their choice. Adding a practicum to your program gives you the chance to network with professionals while also developing your new skills.
In a Hospitality school, practicums are typically 4 weeks and your school’s employment coordinator will help:
• Arrange a practicum placement with one of its partnered companies
• Provide you with a list of resources and information to help you arrange your own placement.
A co-op tends to last longer than a practicum placement. The length of time spent in a co-op placement will depend on a variety of factors like your field of study, or your school of choice. Co-op work experience is more in-depth, allowing students the opportunity to develop key relationships within the industry and to try their hand at new tasks and projects within a professional environment.
Occasionally, co-op opportunities can offer paid work experiences to eligible to students. It’s not guaranteed, but if you work hard and find the right connections, you could be getting paid to gain experience in your field.
At Brighton College, students have scored some amazing co-op and practicum placements. In particular, our Hospitality students have been placed at companies such as Fairmont Hotel Pacific Rim, Edgewater Casinos, and Rosewood Hotel.
4. When do you plan to complete your program?
Something that many of us overlook when planning to start a program is the finishing dates. Usually, come August and September we get caught up in the back-to-school hype and hop into a program with a September start date. Many schools offer start dates year-round. Instead of thinking about when you want to start school, consider when you want to finish your program.
The Hospitality industry in Vancouver follows seasonal trends. This means that job opportunities increase at certain times of year and decrease at other times. The 2 times of year where these increases can take place are March-April for the summer months and October-November for the winter months.
Want to work in the ski and snowboard industry? Plan to finish your program in September. If you’re looking to work in the hotel and accommodation industry, consider finishing your program in February to be ready for gainful employment when Vancouver’s bustling summer season hits.
5. What professional certifications do you need?
Hospitality programs usually offer professional certifications in conjunction with their programs. This ensures that students have all the assets required to begin a role straight out of school. (Another vital consideration when choosing your hospitality school! )
Some important certifications to look for include:
Brighton College currently offers students AHLA certifications through its Hospitality programs. A few of these certifications include Hospitality Operations, Hospitality Fundamentals as well as Rooms Division Specialization certifications.
6. Do you want to explore any opportunities for transfer?
While many schools offer shorter-term diplomas and certificates, you may have decided that you want a longer-term program. You may have decided that you want to cover everything there is to know about the Hospitality industry before beginning your new career.
A few Hospitality Schools offer students the opportunity to transfer schools to go on to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality.
Brighton College offers students the chance to transfer to Royal Roads University where they can complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Global Tourism and Management or a Bachelor’s degree in International Hotel Management. As an added benefit, if you happen to be an international student you’ll become eligible for a Post-Graduate Work Permit upon completion of your Bachelor’s Degree from Royal Roads University!
7. What is your dream job?
When you finally finish your program, what do you want to do? One of the best aspects of finishing your program in Hospitality is the availability of jobs and career paths that become available to you when you finish. From Concierge jobs at world-renowned resorts to Event Planning and Management for local events, these are just a few of the careers that you can work towards when you finish your program.
Even if you don’t know what type of career you want in this industry, you might discover a new passion when you embark on your academic path. We suggest that you take a look at go2HR.ca to get an idea of jobs that are available in this field. You can learn a lot about the skills you have and the ones you might need to develop with the help of a Hospitality school.
Vancouver is a hospitality and tourism hub, boasting more than:
24,000 hotel rooms and welcoming over 230 cruise ships to the picturesque Port of Vancouver.
(Tourism Vancouver, 2016)
If you’ve been inspired to pursue a career in this industry, we recommend setting up a meeting with an Educational Advisor at Brighton College. Our Advising team will assess your current skill set and help you learn which path is right for you, even if it isn’t Hospitality!
Going back to school is an important, life-changing decision. Take your time, do your research and work hard. Its only a matter of time until you find your new career!
Get the Right Training
Now that you’ve read all about Hospitality Schools – are you wondering what you should do next?
Brighton College offers 3 Hospitality programs:
- A 72 week Hospitality Management Diploma, including a 32 week co-op placement,
- A 48 week Hospitality Management Diploma with a 12 week co-op included, or
- A 25 week Hospitality Operations Certificate that includes a 4 week practicum.
Book a free information session or give us a call at 604-430-5608 for more information.
About the Author
Jessica Hurford is a Freelance Writer for Brighton College. When she’s not working, she can be found exploring the local mountains, searching for Vancouver’s best bowl of pho, or binge-watching The Food Network.
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