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‘Industry is currently fighting a war over talent and not just customers’

Dilip Puri Dilip Puri

The hospitality education is drastically shaping up in the country. Dilip Puri, Founder & CEO, Indian School of Hospitality speak about the evolution of hospitality and changing dynamics of skill development in the nation.

How do you see the growth of hospitality industry in India over the last couple of years?

After a decade of sluggish growth in large part due to excessive supply of rooms, the industry is now poised for a sustained period of growth fueled by increasing room rates across categories and segments. While Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTA) helps propel this growth, changing consumer attitudes, and increasing disposable income levels are just a few of the domestic key factors driving growth within India itself. While this type of growth bodes well for the economy, remembering the key driving factor behind the entire landscape is crucial. A factor without which there wouldn’t be an industry in the first place- the people. Growth in the sector is always accompanied by increased opportunities for individuals- which is brilliant news for a country with such a large potential talent scape.

Currently there is a huge crisis of skilled talent in the hospitality industry, how does ISH address this issue? Apart from talent acquisition, talent retention has been a major challenge for the industry, what will be your advice? 

At the Indian School of Hospitality (ISH), we know that the industry is currently fighting a war over talent and not just customers, and it’s crucial to provide skilled, flexible and passionate graduates to the industry to help fuel further growth. We’re changing the way hospitality education is delivered and experienced, the industry stands to benefit from an influx of human capital that is passionate, dedicated and equipped to tackle challenges head on.

ISH is also changing the traditional model of internships, during many of which students would, unfortunately, end up being underutilised and leave without significant knowledge or skills. With our industry placements and partnerships with all the major International and domestic brands, students will get to experience holistic internships that enable them to experience a professional working environment and help them get a head start on their career.  With this approach, we aim to provide graduates that are ready to take on senior positions upon graduating – eliminating the need for companies to spend time and resources retraining graduates, and, in time, helping the industry unlock its further potential.

What is the current hospitality education scenario in the country? Are we at par with international standards? What are the challenges?

There’s no denying that hospitality education is steadily picking up steam within India, parallel to the industry’s steady upward climb. However, it hasn’t always been an easy path, with many institutes and curriculums failing to keep up with the changes and trends of the industry. Today’s students are no longer satisfied with rigid curriculums, outdated teaching practices and lack of practical skills – and they shouldn’t be. Hospitality and its related industries are international, colourful, and rewarding – and the education preparing students for it should be the same.

As hospitality education is slowly starting to warm up to its place in the limelight, now is a more important time than ever to drastically overhaul the entire educational experience to reflect the needs of the millennial student, as well as a rapidly changing industry.

What is the kind of courses that ISH offers? Do you also have advance level courses and add on certifications?

The education structure is aimed at providing the ideal foundation for hospitality skills, managerial and leadership development, strategic thinking, as well as an entrepreneurial outlook - providing a strong foundation for lifelong learning and further skill honing throughout graduates’ careers. To help ensure a truly international standard of hospitality education, ISH has entered into a strategic partnership with Lausanne Hospitality Consulting (LHC), the Swiss knowledge development and management advisory company of Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne. ISH has partnered with LHC in preparation for an academic certification by EHL, alongside curriculum development and faculty training. Through this partnership, ISH is developing an Undergraduate Hospitality Management Programme and an Undergraduate Culinary Arts Programme, with several long and short-term programmes in both culinary and executive education to be available in the future.

The government has announced many skill development initiatives, which can be a boon to the hospitality industry, how much has actually translated into reality?

I think it is a work in progress. Some good work has been done and much more needs to be done. Our current focus at ISH is to educate and provide talent for the industry at the management levels. We intend to get into skill development in the next couple of years, but our focus will entirely be on using technology such as VR and AR in the skilling process. We are currently setting up a dedicated VR lab at ISH for our under graduate students to use as a learning tool.


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