Skip to main content

The importance of work experience – a post from Anne Pierce, CEO, Springboard


I have a bee in my bonnet about work experience. It’s a persistent one and its buzzing away loudly at the moment – work experience is THE critical factor in influence career decisions and we need to do more and do it well.

If you think about it, there can’t be many industries that can offer the breadth of experience and diversity that the hospitality industry can. And I am not just talking about Chefs. You only need to see the enthusiasm that emanates from the likes of Fred Sirieix from Galvin at Windows when he starts talking about front of house skills and careers; or Anne Britton when she enthuses about the housekeeping profession, to see that this is a wide and varied industry that literally has something for everyone. So, the opportunities are many in number and variety, but our previous research shows that we still have some work to do when it comes to executing work experience to the right standard.

At Springboard, we are committed to driving quality work experience in industry through our accredited Quality Standard and support programme INSPIRE – It’s this quality standard that we want the industry to unite behind and deliver truly great work experience. The INSPIRE standard  ensures that all work experience delivered by hotels, F&SM, restaurants, pubs, bars and private members clubs is of a high standard, relevant, challenging and part of a longer term resourcing strategy. It aims to inspire not only the young, but adult jobseekers, career changers, returners to work, the long term unemployed and also people who face multiple disadvantages to work, into fruitful careers and sustainable employment within hospitality. It also raises the industry profile by showcasing the benefits of working within the industry through the means of high quality work experience.

On-going Springboard research into the influences around career choice shows that there are many factors that contribute to the career decision process – and we need to make sure that our industry is well portrayed in all of them – on-line; social media; careers magazines; consumer press; speakers in schools; TV and radio BUT work experience remains the biggest influence on career decisions – it is the deal breaker. But it can work both ways – people can be turned off by a poor work experience for ever – and what’s more they will tell everyone! Whereas, a challenging, quality work experience creates aspiration and ambition, opens people’s eyes to the exciting opportunities that they didn’t know existed and is a critical tool in helping change stereotypes of working within hospitality by showcasing the opportunities and progression that are available within the sector. It’s great to see that companies who took part in The Big Conversation committed to over 10,000 INSPIRE work experience pledges – but we need more…can you help?

Find out more about Springboard UK and their activities here.