Common first year opens more pathways to hospitality and tourism training and employment

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As Canada’s hospitality and tourism sector re-emerges from the shadow of COVID-19, its labour market is bouncing back to meet our pent-up demand to dine out, see sights or getaway for the weekend. Employment opportunities will rise as restaurants, hotels, attractions and other businesses regain steam and adapt their operations to our evolving post-pandemic world.

Preparing to pursue these diverse opportunities is becoming easier with this fall’s introduction of a common first year of core courses at George Brown College. To optimize students’ educational choice and career readiness, the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management will train students in fundamental sector-wide knowledge and skills, in a format that maximizes access to different employment pathways.

The certificate’s mix of industry-shaped programming and experiential learning offers students a broad understanding of hospitality and tourism market segments, enterprises, roles and trends. The curriculum is largely derived from, and provides pathways to, the School’s four diploma programs:

Successful participants will earn a Hospitality Services certificate, which they can build on with further, more specialized training through direct entry into one of our diploma programs, or present to prospective employers to reflect their expertise.

“We want to offer students more flexibility so they can make the best choices for their careers,” says Mohamed Mohsen, Chair, School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. “With the luxury of choice, they can gain an idea of the sector as a whole, and what each of our programs offers, before choosing their next steps.”

If you are a new high school graduate

For those just graduating from high school and considering the sector, the Hospitality Services certificate is a practical primer on the entire hospitality and tourism employment landscape. By exploring the wide range of job functions, and learning how to provide exceptional service to global customers, you will discover your aptitude for the sector, and which aspects appeal to you most. From there, you have the flexibility to enhance your training through direct transfer into one of our diploma programs.

If you want to build on your hospitality and tourism education

Perhaps you have an existing foundation of hospitality and tourism training, but want to expand your expertise, or use them in new ways? The certificate offers you an easy way to learn about different employment opportunities, and make an informed choice about your next steps in the sector. The credential can then serve as a launching pad to our more intensive training options in areas such as hotel management, restaurant management and event planning.

If you are a career changer

In a context where labour market changes or downsizing have prompted a career pivot, the Hospitality Services certificate offers a concise yet comprehensive way to discover a new sector, and whether it aligns with your strengths and interests. It’s an opportunity to test the waters with little risk, but with the prospects of high rewards, as you learn about what it’s like to work in various roles at hotels, resorts, restaurants, caterers and tourism companies.

If you are new to Canada

For internationally trained or experienced hospitality and tourism professionals looking to build their careers in Canada, this certificate provides a complete introduction to the sector in Ontario and across Canada. As you learn about subjects such as global tourism geography, hospitality marketing and types of accommodations, you’ll gain a full awareness of the core principles and best practices in the sector, as well as the range of job opportunities and the expectations of employers.

“This common first year allows us to serve a much broader population of students in a way that allows them to create their pathway,” says Lorraine Trotter, Dean of George Brown’s Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts. We are trying to help students make an informed choice of where they may want to work in the industry.”

The program’s second-semester Career Preparation course features work-integrated learning—either in a work placement or through experiential learning opportunities on campus, including at The Chefs’ House, the college’s on-site student-run restaurant.

“There’s a benefit for students of having a work-integrated learning opportunity in the first year because it helps them understand curriculum concepts first hand, and persist to year two with more clarity about their direction, while also gaining a work experience they can add to their résumé,” says Tammy Vaillancourt, coordinator of and professor in both the Hospitality Services certificate and the Food and Beverage Management diploma.

Whichever pathway students choose, they will enjoy the advantages of learning that is strongly shaped by and responsive to the current needs of industry employers. This translates into an educational experience that is highly practical and relevant, with assignments that tackle real-world hospitality and tourism problems, opportunities to learn from and network with industry professionals, and a smoother road to employment opportunities in this large and vibrant sector.

“We are more connected to industry than any other institution in the province, and we leverage these connections to help students gain valuable opportunities in the sector,” Mohsen says. “Our goal is always to align our programming with industry changes so that we can set students up for success.”