What jobs do you think of when you hear the word "hospitality"? We're guessing it's things like "waitress", "bartender" or "server". If these are the jobs that immediately jump to mind, you need to rethink what you know about the industry!

A lot of people work in hospitality on the side while studying or travelling, and as a result there is a widespread perception that the industry doesn't take you very far. But it's all about where you want to go and how hard you're willing to work. In this article, we look at where a hospitality career can take you. 

Waitressing and bartending: The bread and butter of hospitality

Australia's service industry is booming, so there's no shortage of positions available for those wanting to get their foot in the door. But most employers appreciate hiring staff who are in it for the long haul. Waitressing and bartending are occupations that are often filled by travellers on working holiday visas or students wanting some cash while they study to enter a different profession. This creates the high turnover rates the industry suffers from, as inevitably these staff leave to move on to new places and careers.

Hospitality career paths extend far beyond waitstaff. When you think of hospitality, you probably think of waitstaff, but in fact it's so much more!

As a result, these occupations are often looked upon as transitory – jobs people take when they just need to make ends meet. But hospitality is so much more than that! In every industry, you need to start somewhere. All those top chefs you watch on MasterChef, and those bar owners you aspire to become were once in a position just like yours, trying to get a taste for hospitality and work their way up to where they wanted to be.

Hospitality: So much more than service roles!

What a lot of young Aussies may not realise is that there are so many opportunities to work your way up in this industry. You may start out making coffee or waiting tables, but you can move up and progress your career if you're serious about hospitality.

Just like a doctor might begin their career doing admin at a medical centre, positions like waitress and bartender can be entry-level positions that lead you to a career such as:

  • Hotel General Manager
  • Executive Chef
  • Restaurant Manager
  • Club Manager

Pretty snazzy, right? And the places you can work at extend further than your local pub or cafe. Kenvale College students are already working at places like The Four Seasons and Crowne Plaza while they study. Imagine where they'll go once they graduate with employers like that on their CV!

With hard work and a great hospitality management course under your belt, there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to reach these positions one day! For more on the different careers open to hospitality graduates, have a read of our article on hospitality career paths.

Skills shortages mean there's a need for people like you

Australia's hospitality industry is experiencing a skills shortage at the moment, particularly when it comes to more senior positions. The food and beverage industry is growing more competitive, Ferrier Hodgson research has pointed out. This means operators need to increasingly find ways to stand out from competitors. One way they can do this is hiring staff with the business skills to help enhance their offerings and help them succeed.

The bottom line? Career prospects for hospitality graduates with skills in areas outside of hospitality are looking pretty good. Employers are seeking people who can take on higher-level positions in operations and management. People who not only have a passion for customer service, but know how to navigate business law, human resources, recruitment, accounting and running a business. If you can equip yourself with these kinds of skills, then you'll be well positioned to move up and take on more responsibilities (and higher salaries!) as you progress.

The skills you need to help you succeed in hospitality are as broad as accounting and recruiting.To progress in hospitality, you'll want to gain skills across a wide range of areas.

Not only that, you'll also be able to enter jobs in the broader tourism and service industries both in Australia and around the world. As Anne Zahra says, "It's these life skills that springboard you into any career you want in the service economy, and employers in the service industry are looking for skills that hospitality develops in you. Hospitality people can make very good managers because they know how to handle people."

One way to do this is to make sure you study the right hospitality course from the get-go. A good one teaches you not only the practical hands-on experience, but gives you valuable life skills you can use to run a business; skills that can take you very far.

In a nutshell, hospitality jobs aren't just casual positions you can do while you're travelling or studying – they can lead you on to a successful career in the industry. When you've got the drive, determination and a great course to give you a head start, a hospitality career can lead you anywhere. Just ask one of our course advisers!

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Thank you for inviting us – we really did appreciate it. I must say I was really impressed by the Briar Ridge team – one of them (… Aiden) did a really great job explaining who they were, what they were about etc., and really took the time to give us the background on the person behind it all (Gwyn Olsen). He’d clearly immersed himself in the project, and I think she’d have been really pleased if she’d seen that. Happy to reach out and tell her so if you think it would help pave the way for future events.

- Anonymous, Winefest Guest 2015

I just wanted to express thanks and congratulations to all at Kenvale for the magnificent lunch provided on Thursday.

I have been to many hatted restaurants this year and can honestly say that they would have struggled to produce such fantastic dishes.

The lunch was a credit to your students and your staff.  It would be a privilege to enjoy another visit next year.

Best wishes to your graduating students for success in their career and to your staff to continue to guide students to reach such a high standard.

- Anonymous public guest at Kenvale Restaurant 2015

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