ITALIAN GUEST SCHOOL / Training assisting students and accommodation facilities

A three-year degree activated with Ca’ Foscari in Hospitality Innovation and e-tourism and a cycle of internships to bridge the gap between university and industry. The “Package” proposed by the Italian School of Hospitality (born from the collaboration between Cassa Depositi e Prestiti e TH Group), the only one of its kind in Italy, seems to have all the numbers to equip young people who want to enter the world of tourism with a complete toolbox, as never before in the balance between position income and innovation, between old habits and competition based on quality and digitalisation, motivated and driven also by the pandemic.

“We are at the end of the first operational internship, in our first year of activity, and I must say that the satisfaction, both with us and the students, has exceeded expectations”. This was stated by Giulio Contini, the director of SIO, a solid experience in the sector built up over the years spent at the top of a university hotel school in Barcelona.

Satisfaction for your employees and children, director. But the structures that hosted the scenes?

Mashed potatoes. In general, both the students and the company’s supervisors are very satisfied with their experience, who finish the first year at the university with an internship dedicated to the operation of the structure. From a first partial internal investigation, it appears that the average scores awarded are around the value of 8 out of 10, with peaks of ratings of 9/10 regarding the support received and the welcome upon arrival at the company. On the other hand, the managers of the structures also evaluate the students positively with an average of 7.5 / 10 and with particular appreciation for the ability to learn quickly and the use of IT tools, which today are fundamental to work in the restaurant sector .

Which operators accepted your trainees?

There are so many, from international groups such as Marriott, Club Med, Rocco Forte Hotels, Hilton, NH Hotels, Intercontinental Hotel Group, to national champions such as TH Resorts, VOIhotels (VRetreats) and even HNH Hospitality and boutique hotels such as Bauer and Theresia Resort. . From next year, students will also be able to do internships in structures abroad.

How many students are we talking about?

This first year university course (which has a limited number) involved 38 students from 5 different countries, with 100% placements in the first summer internship, in structures distributed from the Alps to Sicily, in 9 different Italian regions. All interns outside the region were provided room and board by the company plus reimbursement of expenses. 4 and 5 star hotels were selected, 50% of students went to luxury hotels, 40% to large international chains, 45% to large Italian chains, 15% to boutique hotels.

SIO does it provide internships for each of the three years of the degree?

Yes, the first year is about operational internships, in the second we move to supervisor level, as I said even abroad, and the third will be dedicated to internships for management positions. Usually we arrange two students for each structure, to overcome the possible inconvenience of a “loneliness” in the front line. But our attention and caution begins well before, with individual interviews with each student, to understand indoles, grades, dispositions and establish the best destination for each one. And after the students, we also arrange interviews with the personnel managers of the structures to understand the availability and the needs. But the accompaniment of the boys continues throughout the internship, with our availability in case of obstacles or difficulties.

Recently, in Mestre, Giovanni Gorno Tempini, president of the CDP (who was one of the initiators of the SIO) said that we live “in a time of challenges, those dictated by the PNRR, of the energy and the digital transition. The institution has intending to act effectively to intercept the needs of the territory. I remember the foundation, in collaboration with Ca ‘Foscari and the TH Group, of the Italian School of Hospitality “Director Contini, do you think the SIO succeeds in this interception?

Well, the lack of staff, not to mention trained staff, is all too evident, I would say it is now one of the most difficult problems for the operators to solve. Suffice it to say that of the expressions of interest we have received from hotels and chains, we have only been able to satisfy a few. It is clear that at the end of the education and internship, the student will not only be able to count on a solid educational path, but also on the concrete possibility of direct entry into working life, perhaps precisely in the structures that have seen them interns, who it often the virtuous university-internship-work path.

An interesting perspective both for students and for those who manage structures from which they currently suffer the lack of partners. A prospect that also motivates enrollments for the next academic year?

The ongoing registration campaign (we are still in the spring announcement) is progressing quickly with already 40 pre-registrations and over 200 inquiries from abroad, where a selection is underway. At the beginning of July, the summer call was also opened, which closes on August 31, to finish with the registrations for the remaining places at the beginning of September. We are confident that we will be able to select the most suitable students to learn the theoretical and practical foundations of this fascinating profession.

Hard choices?

A B2 certification for the English language is required for the programme, as all courses are taught in this language. Then there is an entrance exam, TOLC-e, which can also be taken online. For internships, there are, as I said, interviews before employment. In about a year, SIO will also start the masters, for which there are already numerous requests from abroad.

After a year of life, what assessment do you feel you need to make for SIO?

It was a difficult road with endless bureaucratic obstacles that we have overcome with constant work. Today, however, we are really satisfied with the activation of the training at Ca’ Foscari, which we have collaborated profitably with the principal Tiziana Lippiello, and of course for the internships.

The issue of logistic real estate agent remains open …

It is true. We currently use the facilities of Ca’ Foscari and we collaborate de facto with the Luiss Business School, but soon we will need dedicated spaces for laboratories. Together with Cdp and TH Group, we had aimed at the former hospital in the sea at Lido in Venice, but that path is still stuck in the quicksand of bureaucratic uncertainties, afterthoughts and so on. In any case, we are investigating various other property options: There is no shortage of solutions.

(Alberto Beggiolini)

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