In the superyacht industry’s recent bemoaning of quality crew, the interior’s voiced solution has been to source already-interested candidates from the hospitality sector. However, the industry is yet to be successful.
The Professional Yachting Association (PYA) is looking into ways of achieving this through its Guidelines for Unified Excellence in Service Training (GUEST) programme, however over the past few years this has seen little interest from the hospitality sector. “We did approach a few hospitality schools three years ago,” explains Joy Meen, director of certification and training at the PYA and head of GUEST. “We have since tried to offer career days and introduce yachting as a career, but didn’t get very far, primarily as they don’t ‘get’ what superyachting is, nor the level of service required to do what we do, and sadly we were not given the chance to go in and tell them all about it."
However, Meen admits that this initiative has somewhat lost traction – understandable, due to the large number of initiatives on which the PYA has been working over recent years – so we approached London’s Luxury Academy to understand if the concept of working on board superyachts would be of interest to land-based hospitality staff. And, the problem is, as we perhaps expect, people simply aren’t aware of our industry.
"It's likely that hospitality professionals aren't aware of opportunities on board superyachts. Possibly if it was more widely known as a potential avenue for hospitality staff, it would be more of a focus." - Paul Russell, Luxury Academy
“I have never encountered anyone discussing superyachts as a possible career move,” Paul Russell, director and co-founder of UK-based hospitality school Luxury Academy tells The Crew Report. “Quite a few hospitality staff consider, or at least toy with the idea of, working on a cruise ship. It's likely that hospitality professionals aren't aware of opportunities on board superyachts. It doesn't appear to be a sector that actively advertises itself to hospitality professionals. Possibly if it was more widely known as a potential avenue for hospitality staff, it would be more of a focus.”
The academy already offers training to residential ships, and Russell admits he would be interested in exploring the possibility of offering training to superyacht crew if there was an increase in interest from the superyacht sector; an interest we know is very much present.
He also adds that work placements would be beneficial, but that shorter placements are of less interest to hospitality staff. “Placements would go a long way in increasing awareness of the sector to potential hospitality professionals. The cruise ships offer placements, as do the well known luxury liner brands such as Cunard, but it's unlikely that a two-week placement would be of interest to potential candidates. A three or six-month placement would be more likely to attract them.”
The conversation with Russell is promising. The hospitality sector is interested in superyachting. Now we just need to let them know what it really is. With the PYA’s GUEST programme gaining traction, an industry-wide push might be all it takes to get the ball rolling.
What do you think of combining superyacht and land-based hospitality training? Share your comments below or email the editor at email@example.com.