At a FEDHASA Cape Young Professionals event held at the Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! in Cape Town, a panel of industry experts discussed topics of relevance to the industry sector with a group of young up-and-coming hospitality professionals. One of the main findings of the event was that SA’s hospitality industry needs to undergo fundamental changes to remain relevant and appeal to young industry professionals.

The interactive session saw participants sharing their views on the state of the industry and suggest what needs to change to make way for the “new generation”. It also gave panelists the opportunity to share tips and advice on how to successfully climb the hospitality ladder.

“We had an interesting session, with new ideas on how the industry can be more adaptable to accommodate millennials and generation Z. We gained some perspective from roleplayers in the sector on how we need to develop ourselves in order to be more impactful and to stay ahead. Some incredibly valuable take-ins were shared,” said Ndaba Dube, chairperson of FEDHASA Cape’s Young Professionals segment.

A common thread during this event was that the hospitality industry needs to innovate holistically and include young, fresh thinkers with new ideas in their decision-making processes, which will help to re-shape the face of this industry. “In the words of Jackie Joyner-Kersee: ‘it’s better to look ahead and prepare, than to look back and regret’. As an industry we need to start with some introspection and proceed to make some of those changes now,” he said. Panelists encouraged the industry to be less linear and to foster more collaborations with youngsters on topics and situations that would directly affect them.

Dube said the event gave young professionals an opportunity to establish a road map on where they’re going and how they need to get there, including the characteristics they need to nurture to move ahead in this industry. He highlighted them as: passion, drive to succeed, humility and balance. “How we become effective and impactful is up to us, and if we need to shake things up a bit and do things differently, then now is the time,” Dube said.

To encourage ongoing dialogue between young professionals in the sector and to grow this segment, general managers from FEDHASA Cape’s member establishments have also signed a Young Professionals Pledge. In the pledge GMs commit to signing-up a young professional from their respective establishments to join, actively support and develop the segment.