Tourism has developed in Romania, but the need of staff, young people in particular, is very high
The development of tourism in Romania, which in recent years has seen major progress, but still insufficient, is extremely important. The staff shortage in the field, on the other hand, has become acute. The need for as many employees as possible, and the lack thereof in particular in the tourism sector, was one reason for the Romanian Hotel Industry Federation to recently organize "Open Days in the Hospitality Hndustry", aimed to attract young people to jobs in the field. More specifically, the organizers focused on means to attract young people to do internships in Romanian hotels and also on the development of specialized dual education. In Romania, dual education means the partnership between various economic sectors and technical and vocational high schools in order to have graduates hired as soon as possible by the companies operating in the field in which they are trained.
Camelia Ghețău, a representative of the National Center for the Development of Vocational and Technical Education, told us more about the employment situation in tourism, and also about the cooperation between HoReCa and education institutions.
"The number of places allocated to the field of vocational training in tourism and the food sector that supports the HoReCa field, although generous, is not always covered by the students' applications. However, it is one of the areas with the best coverage, namely 82.9%. The vacancy rate therefore stands at 17%. So the education system and the economic environment together need to attract students to fill all the places that the Ministry of Education makes available for qualifications in the tourism and food sectors. In addition, the Ministry of Education and the National Center for the Development of Vocational and Technical Education are open to all offers and requests. If the economic operators in tourism find that those qualifications that we are currently focusing on are no longer appropriate in terms of the harmonization of the curriculum with the developments in the sector, we are ready to update and modernize it. It is not a problem to do this as there is a very flexible tool called the National Register of Professional Qualifications which allows the introduction of new qualifications at any time.
What is the point of view of potential employers in tourism? Marius Băzăvan, who is the manager of a hotel chain and member of the Board of Directors of the Hotel Federation, considers that the training of young people in the hospitality trades is also a duty of the companies operating in the field. Even before the open days event, Marius Băzăvan stated:
"We must understand that if we do not have educated young people, we will not have the tourism we want in the future. Tourism in Romania is developing every day, but we need, in addition to experienced people, dedicated and educated young people to bring their enthusiasm along. Such interaction, as facilitated by the Open Days event, helps us as an industry to better understand the needs of young people, what their expectations are, because it is very important for them to make an informed choice about the profession and career they want to pursue. We, in this field, also have dual education. It is the second generation of dual education, if I may call it that, with two classes of cooks and waiters of 14 students each. Our company has made available its locations in Băile Herculane because there is only one high school in the area where students can get the qualification of tourism technician. Specifically, we decided to rent two coaches and turn this action into a small trip. The students come from Craiova and go to Băile Herculane. There, every hotel should organize themed workshops so that students can see exactly what is happening in a marketing and sales department, as well as the less-seen part of the job, which is very beautiful. We encourage such actions and we will certainly focus more on interacting with young people and I think they will find a really nice place in this industry.
But what do those directly targeted by the "Open Days in the Hospitality Industry" think? Let's listen to one of them:
"My name is Marin Cristian Alexandru. I am an intern in the field of hospitality, especially in the kitchen. Lerning how to do things practically, in a hotel, is a very good idea, because it opens new horizons, and also stimulates children to be more creative, more disciplined and to develop a special type of thinking, adding to what they learn theoretically, in school. I think that dual education has helped me to become more disciplined and more creative.
And his colleague added.
"My name is Cosmina. For me tourism, in general, is the most beautiful job I know. And being an intern in this field has helped me discover a lot of advantages It has opened lots of horizons for me. Everything I've learnt in these three years of practical work has helped me understand what I really want. And I really want to become a hotel manager. I think it's a very nice job."
And because education involves both students and teachers, teachers in dual education also have their responsibility in attracting young people to hospitality jobs, according to teacher Larisa Ilea.
"They are the first generation of dual education students that has benefited from the hotels in Bucharest and in the country opening their doors to them. And I have realized that we can do more if we join forces, so we have concluded partnerships in an association of teachers and mentors, and also in an association that brings together hotel and tourism high schools in Romania. The association was founded thanks to the initiative of the Hotel Managers' Federation, but also of the French Institute in Romania. Together we have built strong partnerships to promote the tourism trades and to provide the field with skilled staff, whose training starts early, at the age of 15. And their training actually never stops, because tourism is a field that changes every six months.".
The labor crisis has returned to Romania after the restrictions imposed by the pandemic were lifted. And in tourism, this shortage is felt more acutely than anywhere else. Because of the low wages and poorer working conditions, people have started looking for other fields and even other countries. In order to revive the Romanian tourism and to meet the demand, the offer of the hospitality industry must stand at the right level. And for that, skilled employees are needed. (MI)