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New Hospitality Industry Initiative to Bridge Skills Gap and Connect Students to Business Professionals

Chefs preparing food

Hospitality Industry First as HSMAI Europe Student Council Launches in September 2021 @HSMAIeurope

Vital industry initiative aims to support hospitality undergraduates’ and graduates’ professional growth, harness entrepreneurial skills and directly connect them with peer-groups and hospitality brands across the UK and Europe

The Student Council will also help to overcome the industry’s challenge of attracting talent and raise the profile of the industry

Hospitality undergraduates and graduates across the UK and Europe are set to benefit from a vital new career and industry initiative which will be launched by HSMAI Europe in September 2021. The HSMAI Europe Student Council (“The Student Council”) will support hospitality students and recent graduates based in the UK and Europe by connecting them directly with other peers and hospitality brands across the region. The Student Council aims to provide a much-needed forum to facilitate and support undergraduates’ professional growth during their studies, as well as during the early stages of their career as they make the transition from graduate to getting their first job in the industry. 

Emile Schelfhout, who recently graduated with an MBA in International Hospitality Management at Hotelschool The Hague and is completing his MSc in Corporate Finance & Banking at EDHEC Business School in Nice, has been appointed to head up and lead The Student Council. He will work in collaboration with Ingunn Hofseth, President and CEO of HSMAI Region Europe, other board members and be supported by other students – their Council appointments will be announced nearer the launch. 

Ingunn Hofseth, President & CEO at HSMAI Region Europe said: “We aim to help the students build a network beyond their usual scope, stimulate their professional growth, and create a sense of belonging within our magnificent hospitality industry.” 

The Student Council will regularly hold virtual, hybrid, live events and workshops for members of the council so they can harness vital skills required in the industry including digital innovation, branding and the importance of having a more entrepreneurial and innovative mindset in the post-pandemic era. 

The students will also have regular access to potential mentors from the HSMAI Europe membership including senior management and marketers who work for both large and independent hospitality brands. It will serve as a vital hub for students to gain valuable strategic insights and also help them to identify brands they would be keen to gain an internship with during or immediately after their studies. In addition, students will meet with their peers from other hospitality business schools across the UK and Europe to share different views and offer advice. 

The new initiative is set to be welcomed by many UK and European hotel business schools and universities along with thousands of hospitality brands in the industry who have been battling with the challenges of finding, attracting and retaining graduates.  Valérie De Corte, Global Alliance and Partnership Director at Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne – regarded as one of the world’s leading hotel business schools, has already confirmed that the school will be supporting the new initiative and joining The Student Council. 

Ingunn Hofseth, President and CEO of HSMAI Region Europe said: “We continually consult our members about how HSMAI Europe can support the industry’s growth, and how we can support and critically overcome the challenges to find the right talent. This has propelled HSMAI Europe to take action, as now more than ever it is vital we all collaborate and try to overcome the challenges of talent acquisition and retention. 

“Today’s students and graduates are the lifeblood of the new hospitality economy. The Student Council will not only create a wonderful hub by facilitating networking between students and businesses, but also bridge many of the skills gaps that are required in the modern era of hospitality. 

“This is an exciting time as we partner with many hotel business schools and universities and help their students strengthen their professional and enterprise skill set so they can stand out with their future employers.” 

Emile Schelfhout, Leader of HSMAI Europe Student Council comments: Since I joined HSMAI Europe in March 2020, the association has boosted my professional growth. I cannot wait to share this experience with other students. The council provides the perfect means to do so. We want to help students standout, and support them in their journey to becoming young professionals in an environment that promotes inclusivity, responsibility, and sustainability. The fact that this council operates across hospitality business schools makes it the first of its kind worldwide.” 

Valérie De Corte, Global Alliance and Partnership Director at Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne comments: “The hospitality industry will need to rely on emotional and artificial intelligence to manage complex environments, reinvent models, and be committed to a sustainable world. To provide students with the best tailor-made experience and the necessary skills to succeed in their career and in life, we need to embrace the best of both the ‘real’ and ‘virtual’ worlds in our educational methods. Therefore, the connection with key industry players is more important than ever. HSMAI Europe is helping the industry connect the dots between hospitality professionals, future leaders and academic institutions.” 

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