Room to Change
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It's a fact that the world of housekeeping and accommodation management has, and is, changing rapidly not just across the UK but internationally too.

Many people don't really understand the terms, and have less idea of what the role really entails, and that's why Springboard is working with its partners to highlight the opportunities for employment and shine a light on some of the issues facing this sector of the industry.

It's not just about making beds and keeping rooms clean and tidy, important those these things are, but people employed in this area often get involved in selection of fabrics, recruitment and training along with ordering stock and budgeting, plus much, much more.

A variety of skills are needed and you'll need to be a top class communicator who's not afraid of hard work, sometimes under pressure and be methodical in the execution of your duties. You don't necessarily need to have academic qualifications, but there are apprenticeships for those under 24, and degrees in hospitality management that incorporate units of study in this area or you can opt for a qualification in culinary arts and accommodation management.

If you're involved in supervising others there are NVQs in housekeeping and hospitality supervision. Housekeepers tend to be loyal and stay in the role for some time, but recent changes to visa regulations and the over reliance on Eastern Europe to plug any shortfall in this sector cannot be guaranteed any more. The industry need to grow and nurture home grown talent and this is one aspect that sometimes gets overlooked when people attempt to devise solutions to the 'manpower' equation in the sector.

Part of an on-going problem is that housekeeping is not often seen as a desirable or a worthwhile career option and a lot of vocational courses tend to focus on food preparation, cooking and service, and this has helped exacerbate the problem of understanding the importance, breadth, variety, responsibility and the real impact a quality accommodation management team can have.

What people often miss is the progression, often rapid, from this role to front-of-house or training within the organisation. It also offers the chance to enhance professional qualifications.

It's not just about hotels either, it could mean a move into hospital domestic management, a care home, luxury health spa, or facilities management at a university. The possibilities are endless for the talented and committed.

The conferences that Springboard is helping to organise, the first of their kind, are being held in London, The Cumberland, (3 June) Manchester, The Midland Hotel (14 June) and The Balmoral in Edinburgh (1 July). It's targeting general mangers, HR directors and the housekeeping and accommodation managers themselves.

We see this very much as a wake up call and a real chance to help make a difference and change the perceptions of this hugely important part of the industry.

To join us log onto www.roomtochange.springboarduk.net

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Housekeeping is not just about making beds and keeping rooms clean and tidy.
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