About the organisation
HIT Training is the UK’s leading apprenticeship provider for the hospitality and catering sector. Its sister company, Connect2Care provides apprenticeships and training for the adult care and early years sectors.
HIT offers a huge range of apprenticeships and development schemes for people at all levels, from school-leavers to senior management.
Founded in 2006, HIT Training’s expert trainers have vast amounts of experience in helping companies to upskill their employees, having each enjoyed successful careers in the field themselves.
What challenges were you trying to address?
The coronavirus outbreak has had an unprecedented impact on the hospitality industry. The introduction of UK-wide lockdown meant hospitality venues were the first to close and many will be amongst the last to reopen.
Whilst many operators are coming up with inventive new ways to bring money into their business, there is no substitute for the face-to-face, personalised service the industry expertly provides, nor the income it generates.
To support our employer partners during these difficult times, we began hosting weekly interactive Learning and Development Forums online. In these discussions, it became clear that the main concerns facing leaders in the hospitality industry were understanding and implementing social distancing and infection control practices into their current business model.
To keep positive spirits alive in our proud industry, we wanted to use the expertise we have at HIT Training and our sister brand, Connect2Care, to help business owners, employees, and customers feel confident about the reopening of hospitality - whenever that may be.
What was your solution?
One of the biggest concerns facing hospitality is how to avoid the spread of coronavirus in an operating venue - be that a restaurant, hotel or pub.
Connect2Care’s adult care training consultants are experienced in infection control, having worked within the adult care sector and provided training in these methods for many years. These experts are able to create hygienically clean healthcare environments at a standard that supports and promotes the recovery of patients and prevents the spread of infection and cross contamination.
To support the hospitality industry to tackle the new infection and hygiene concerns faced in a post-COVID-19 world, we wanted to apply our knowledge of high-quality infection control procedures from the healthcare industry to the hospitality industry.
Using this expertise, our Connect2Care experts worked in partnership with HIT Training’s hospitality team to understand the potential infection challenges faced by hospitality venues. They also reviewed the methods currently being used by other industries in the UK who had remained open (such as petrol forecourts, food stores, and the NHS), as well as procedures being introduced by hospitality venues in other countries as they begin to reopen.
Pulling together all this experience, knowledge and best practice gave us the framework to develop training courses to prevent, limit, and control the spread of infection in the hospitality industry.
This lead to the development of our tutor-led online short course: The Principles of Infection Control and Safe Working, a qualification: Level 2 Award in the Prevention and Control of Infection, and a free-to-download e-guide: Keeping your customers safe throughout COVID-19: Infection control and safe working.
The purpose of these new infection control training courses is to continue lightening the burden from COVID-19. The courses provide their staff members with a comprehensive knowledge of the procedures they’ll need to implement when their business is able to reopen its doors.
In these unprecedented times for the hospitality industry, it’s essential for us to focus on what we can do, rather than what we can’t do. We want the industry to bounce back as quickly as possible and preparation is key to us being able to do that. Upskilling our workforce in infection control methods, mental health and other key areas of operation will help protect not only our customers, but our staff, and therefore our businesses, for the long-term.— Jill Whitaker FCA FIH, Managing Director, HIT Training Ltd
We understand that hospitality venues are eager to welcome customers and staff back into their establishments as soon as they can. But in order to give people the confidence to walk back through those doors, being able to demonstrate that you offer a safe place to socialise and work is going to require extra care and attention. That’s why HIT Training has used internal and external expertise to develop a course, qualification and e-guide to provide infection control support to the hospitality industry.
How did you roll out your approach?
Our training experts, curriculum and quality control teams worked tirelessly to pull these courses together in just two weeks without compromising on our brand’s high standards.
Our hospitality Training Consultants have been retrained in these higher standards of hygiene and infection control methods to be able to effectively deliver the training course to learners in addition to our Food Safety and Kitchen Hygiene course.
We’ve adapted our delivery model to provide all our training online through the use of interactive workshops and one-to-one Zoom meetings.
Apprentices and employees are able to continue with their learning even if they are placed on furlough - giving many an opportunity to brush up on their skills.
Our approach allows employers to concentrate on their business needs and concerns, leaving the training to us and giving them one less thing to worry about.
What have the results been?
Having launched our courses at the end of April, we ran our first (sold out) session for The Principles of Infection Control and Safe Working to 50 learners across the hospitality industry during the first week of May.
We take the safety of our staff, clients and apprentices seriously, especially in the current climate, so all HIT Training employees are taking this course to know how best to protect themselves and their learners.
We aren’t looking to profit from this course, we see it as our way of supporting the hospitality industry through this unprecedented situation. We’ve offered each hospitality company one complimentary place on our course and only charge £25+VAT for additional places to cover the cost of running the sessions.
An early challenge we faced whilst delivering The Principles of Infection Control and Safe Working course to delegates was ensuring all learners understood the key differences between demonstrating ‘good hygiene practices’ and delivering a ‘hygienically clean environment that controls the spread of infection’. We overcame this by providing a more in-depth overview of the chain of infection and how to break it, including hypothetical hospitality-based scenarios to bring it to life.
We’ve had over 8,500 enquiries to sign up for our more comprehensive Level 2 Award in the Prevention and Control of Infection, which will go live in June 2020. This qualification, aimed at managers, supervisors and those responsible for infection control in the business, provides a more in-depth understanding of key measures and precautions.
What advice would you give to other businesses looking to do something similar?
Our e-guide, Keeping your customers safe throughout COVID-19: Infection control and safe working, offers an introduction into ways to reduce the risk of infection. Business owners know their customers and employees better than anyone, so this provides food for thought on the measures that may, or may not, work for their venue.
Our advice to other companies wanting to support their industry is to uncover the expertise, skills and knowledge in your business that is unique to you. Our industry experience of healthcare level cleaning and infection control procedures has given us an exclusive opportunity to apply this to our other area of expertise, the hospitality industry.