Despite all the challenges, we have some wonderful news to announce! We are not the only ones who see the light at the end of the tunnel and believe in the future of our industry. Our team at the Empire Riverside Hotel and the Hotel Hafen Hamburg has been complemented by a total of five young women since 1 February. Four of them are aiming for an apprenticeship in hotel management, the fifth for a degree in restaurant management. We asked Luzie Roscher from our HR department how the start for the trainees went and what is different this year than usual. Luzie Roscher completed her dual studies in our hotels last year, was hired to work in our HR department and has been responsible for the trainees in both hotels ever since. We have summarised everything she told us on the subject in the following lines:
On 1 and 2 February, the motto was: "Welcome aboard! Although a little different than normally planned, two exciting orientation days are lying behind us. After the introduction into various topics and a culinary break, two house tours took place in both hotels to give a first insight into all the departments that await them. Under normal circumstances, the trainees get a little foretaste of their new workplace during an overnight stay in one of the hotels. Due to the temporary closure of the hotels, our trainees were given school bags including an overnight voucher to make up for the experience in the next few months under normal conditions.
Although the start of working life for our five new team members has not begun with much hustle and bustle as normal, the current situation brings one or two advantages. The start represents a smooth entry, because the trainees have not been thrown in at the deep end. They can get used to processes at their own pace and (hopefully soon) have the opportunity to experience and help organise a hotel reopening. At the reception, in the meantime, they can explore the hotel programme through a test version and practise various processes even without guest contact. Some staff members from the service department are using the quiet time to organise voluntary trainee training - mixing cocktails, setting tables, breaking napkins and wine knowledge were already on the agenda. Other topics are also planned for the coming weeks. Moreover, apprentices are not affected by short-time work. This means that they often spend their working hours with other apprentices and thus have the opportunity to get to know each other better.
What do our apprentices say about it?
We also asked our newbies about the apprenticeship in Corona times. Theresa Monreal and Valerie Kothe tell us in an interview why they decided to do the apprenticeship and what they are most looking forward to after the lockdown.
Hello you two, would you like to introduce yourselves briefly to our audience?
Valerie: "I'm Valerie, 18 years old and originally from Lüneburg. Before my apprenticeship, I lived in California for 5 years and did my American high school degree there."
Theresa: "My name is Theresa Monreal, I'm 20 years old and come from the small town of Freudenberg. I graduated from high school in 2019 and then started a backpacker trip through South-East Asia which I had to break off earlier due to the pandemic. Before and after the trip, I already gained my first knowledge in gastronomy."
What kind of apprenticeship are you doing with us and why did you choose our hotels?
Valerie: "I am doing an apprenticeship as a hotel manager. I started the training in August 2020 in another company and already switched to Hotel Hafen Hamburg and Empire Riverside Hotel last year in October. I decided to switch because I heard a lot of positive things about the training here, which I can only confirm now. Despite the difficult time at the moment, I feel very comfortable at the hotel and am therefore really happy to have changed. In the last few months, I have mainly gained experience in housekeeping and a few days in at breakfast."
Theresa: "On 01.02.2021, I started my training as a hotel manager at Hotel Hafen Hamburg and Empire Riverside Hotel. Why did I choose these hotels? They always say: "Looks attract, character retains!". I clicked through the website and sent an application. I was then invited for a trial job. On site I immediately felt very comfortable and then just hoped to be accepted. Now I'm here."
Why did you decide to study in the hotel and gastronomy industry despite Corona?
Valerie: "What I like best about the hotel industry is the flexibility. You can basically work anywhere in the world after your apprenticeship and thereby get to know a lot of the world. I love the variety that the profession brings, and I also really enjoy the personal contact with guests. I also appreciate the many opportunities for further education and training in the industry. For these reasons, I have chosen the hotel industry despite the difficult situation at the moment. Of course, my main hope is that things will return to normal by the time I graduate."
Theresa: "I imagine the hotel industry to be very eventful. Through the experience I have gained in service, I have found that I particularly enjoy customer contact. That's why I wanted to make it my profession. To be honest, at the time of my application, I didn't think that a second lockdown was coming. Hardly anyone believed that. But at some point it will go on again and I'm already really looking forward to it."
Did you have any concerns before you started your apprenticeship?
Valerie: "At the beginning I was worried that it would be very difficult to get an apprenticeship in the hospitality industry because of Corona, as many companies are not offering apprenticeships at the moment.
Theresa: "I only had the biggest concerns about moving away from home - from a small town to a big city. But I decided to do it and I'm looking forward to the new chapter."
What is difficult for you in your apprenticeship because of the current situation?
Valerie: "I find the current situation difficult in that the training is of course not quite what one imagined. The difficulty is that unfortunately there is not much variety and you don't get to know as many departments as you normally would."
Theresa: "I find it difficult to get to know the hotel "empty", because I think everything feels completely different as soon as the house is filled with guests."
What advantages do you see in your apprenticeship because of the current situation?
Valerie: "I think the positive thing about the situation is that this difficult time strengthens the team! Through the lockdown, I was already able to get to know many of the other trainees. So we are already working together as a great team!"
Theresa: "I think that the fact that the hotels are closed gives us the opportunity to find our way around in peace and to get to know different processes, which can be helpful for us when we reopen.
Which department(s) are you most looking forward to and why?
Valerie: "I am most looking forward to reception, the bar and marketing. I really like dealing with guests and at the same time I also have a creative side."
Theresa: "I'm most looking forward to the events department because I've always wanted to learn how larger events are organised. I'm also interested in marketing and, of course, service."
Where do you see yourselves in 5-10 years?
Valerie: "I definitely see myself internationally in the future, as I could well imagine going abroad again after my apprenticeship. However, I would like to study hotel management as soon as I have completed it. I haven't decided yet exactly in which area I would like to work after my studies."
Theresa: "The apprenticeship as a hotel manager gives me insights into different departments and therefore also jobs. Before I make a decision, I'm looking forward to getting to know them over the next 3 years, getting lots of impressions and broadening my horizons.
We would like to thank Theresa and Valerie for the interview and wish all trainees much success and joy in their apprenticeships. It's great to have you with us!