- publication: 20 June 2016
By Dr. Sjoerd Gehrels
The catering industry is changing rapidly. New trends emerge, economies are blurring and business models are evolving. Members of Generation Y gather their knowledge online and use the internet to gain information. Unfortunately, it is not (yet) possible to Google experience. Based on these developments, the European Event Catering Academy (EECA) started a programme that is focused on the further development of industry professionals in the catering industry. The EECA is a tailor-made programme that did not exist before. Surprisingly, catering management seems not to be taught in many bachelor programmes. The aim of the EECA is to further develop and retain high potentials in the catering and event industry. The EECA is an initiative of the European Party Caterer Association (EPCAS), the platform connecting directors and owners of European catering companies. The goals of EPCAS are to build friendships, to deliver quality content, to share knowledge & experiences and to improve the catering industry as a whole. By setting up the European Event Catering Academy, talent within the industry can be developed. The EECA partnered up with Stenden Hotel Management School and international training company Q-staff. Twice a year, a 2½ day training programme takes place in Maastricht. Over the course of two years, a total of four different training programmes will be offered. Each programme focuses on a specific field, such as Operations, HR, Sales or Finance. Best practices and business cases from the participating party catering companies provide themes as well as leadership and personal growth. Knowledge, skills and more insight in behaviour are a major part of the learning experience. For quality purposes a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 20 participants is set. After each course, participants receive a certificate for their participation. The average planned profile of participants is Gen Y, currently working in middle management, eager to learn and the desire to develop to a strategic level, future industry leaders, bachelor level of thinking/working, at least two years of experience in the catering industry, self critical-enthusiastic-eager to learn-curious-and not afraid to ask questions. Last 8 – 10 May, the first course days of the European Event Catering Academy took place in Maastricht. Participants came from Germany, Italy, UK, Belgium and The Netherlands. The companies represented included: Steffen Traiteur, At Your Service Group, Stockheim, Christ Party & Catering, FPS Catering, Fruy Finest Food Catering, Broich Catering- & Locations, Privileg Catering, Culpepper Event, Koninklijke Van den Boer Groep, and Papillon1990. Stenden HMS, Academy of International Hospitality Research (AIHR) by means of Lector Sjoerd Gehrels delivered one of the Masterclasses for the EECA. The topic for the Masterclass was Employer Branding for the Hospitality Industry which is a theme that already has attracted a lot of attention from within the sector. AIHR/CELTH publication on Employer Branding (Gehrels & Altan, 2016) was shared with the participants and the principles of EB were outlined and discussed. All-in-all the start of the European Event Catering Academy was a great success and a wonderful initiative to further develop professionals in the industry.