Francis O' Toole Author – Careers Ireland

Students' embarking on their career journey – Is Féidir linn

  • August 2019
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Working in Tourism and Hospitality






SPEAKER: Representative from Failte Ireland



DEFINITION OF CAREER AREA:  Working in hotels, restaurants and the tourism sector.


WHAT IS INVOLVED IN A TYPICAL DAY? There is no such thing as a typical day in the Tourism and Hospitality industry and that is the joy of working in the industry.  Every day is different, whether you work in the kitchen of a busy restaurant, the reception of a bustling hotel, the sales department of a conference venue – no two days are the same as your guests or visitors will always be different. 


With the numbers of tourists visiting Ireland increasing steadily every year and the growth in the domestic tourism market, the tourism sector is one that can guarantee immediate employment to trained professionals.  Although traditional employment in the tourism and hospitality sector centres around hotels, restaurants, bars, travel agencies and heritage centres, jobs in the sector now include a much wider selection of wine bars and gastro pubs, entertainment and sporting venues, leisure centres, internet cafes and themed tourist attractions.  The positions have also changed to accommodate these changes so you don’t have to be a chef, waiter or waitress, but perhaps a receptionist, event co-ordinator, sales manager or venue manager.


SKILLS USED IN THE JOB: There is a position for all types of people whether you love the limelight or if you prefer to work behind the scenes; the only prerequisite is to be a team player.  Some would love to welcome a wedding party to a private country house helping to create a couples prefect day, others would prefer to be creating signature dishes in a Michelin star restaurant.  As a hotel manager you may thrive on motivating and leading your management team or a team member supporting the various departments working in accounts or IT  – There is something for everyone in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry.


REWARDS:   With qualifications that are EU recognised and paid work experience as an integral part of most Tourism and Hospitality programmes, students are equipped immediately with the professional skills they require to excel rapidly in their careers at home or abroad.



Access to a management career in hotel and catering can be gained through several channels, the most popular is a degree in hotel and catering management or a related discipline qualification.


Institutes of Technology throughout the country as well as some private colleges offer degree programmes and entry is through the CAO. In addition, the Institutes of Technology also have a range of 1 and 2 year full time programmes in Professional Cookery, Bar Operations and Tourism. Contact your preferred college for further information.


Shannon College offers a Business Studies Degree in International Hotel Management and a Commerce degree in which students spend the fourth year at NUI Galway. Entry to Shannon is however through a combination of CAO points and an interview. 



In additional, Failte Ireland offer a range of short term skills training courses such as Bar Skills, Restaurant Skills and Culinary skills which are over 13- 16 weeks in Failte Ireland Training Centres.  Students may then go on to full time College–based training.


Alternatively, students may prefer to ‘earn and learn’ by doing the National Apprenticeship Programme in Professional Cookery (NAP)  or a Trainee Manager Programme ( TMDP)  or a modular Restaurant and Bar Programme.


For further advice on course options contact the People in Tourism Centre at Failte Ireland on 1850 256 256 or e-mail or


SALARY SCALES:  Traditionally a career in Tourism wasn’t viewed as a ‘real’ career, and thus there were few incentives to drive employees to higher levels.   However, the tourism sector for those who are willing offers superb opportunities for faster and younger promotion. By its nature, the tourism industry is people driven and young managers are at the forefront of this, delivering quality service to the public.  Salaries depend on what area you work in and who you work for, they tend to be lower when starting off and for training but there are no limits to what you can earn once you put the work in. 


The past may have seen problems with pay and conditions but things have changed and hospitality is a career that offers excellent opportunities. New legislation and guidelines, and the education and training of professional personnel (such as Human Resource managers) ensures these policies can be enforced.   In addition, Irish people, whether they are employees or consumers, are more aware of their rights and they demand higher standards.


With the arrival of International Hotel Chains such as Marriot, Radisson, Ritz Carlton  the industry has become much more professional, many offering incentives such meals, uniforms, gym membership and staff rates for accommodation and food in any of their hotels worldwide  (for as little as €25.00pp!).  In addition these hotel chains prefer to recruit internally and often transfer their highly trained staff to their various hotels worldwide.



ADVICE IN CHOOSING THIS AREA: If the idea of a boring office job sends a shiver down your spine, why not consider a career in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry? Not only are we talking about a great career, with the potential of a handsome salary, great prospects and faster younger promotion – but there is also the fact that you can travel the world and work almost anywhere. 




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