The COVID crisis has had a strong impact on both the Higher Education sector and the Hospitality Management sector. The effect on the Institut Lyfe, International Higher Education Institution in Hospitality Management, Food Service, Culinary Arts and Pastry Management, has been twofold: both on its teaching methods and on the role of think tank that it continues to play in the hospitality and culinary sector.
By Johanna Edelbloude
Academic Dean/ Head of Faculty and Research
As in many other Higher Education institutions, the lockdowns have had a very salutary effect, in terms of structuring and fostering distance-learning and diversifying the methods and the approach to distance-learning. Pedagogical innovation and digitalization gave opportunities and levers for student empowerment and collaborative project work.
Thanks to this, students and graduates in the Hospitality and Food Service industry will be able to play the role of ambassadors of these new working and collaboration methods, this philosophy of co-construction and a more horizontal vision of professional relations. They have also learned to review business models and adapt them to new challenges, a skill which will be useful for their own careers as managers and entrepreneurs in the Hospitality and Food Service industries.
Our students are now the spokesmen and-women of these messages of openness and horizontality, with a demand for change from their side which we must encourage and to which we must provide answers, in the teaching methods and professional perspectives we offer.
Several digital teaching and collaboration tools have consequently been adopted. Implemented with a sense of urgency during COVID, to meet an immediate need for pedagogical continuity, full use has been made of these new tools to create an enriched educational experience. A video library of 250 tutorials on culinary techniques has been deployed, as well as MOOCs on service and sommellerie. All these innovations are the subject of an on-going international strategic partnership supported by European funding in which we are involved with Italian, German and Turkish researchers, teachers and chefs. These digital methods are now fully integrated into the program as “preparation” before practical courses to deepen the face to face time with chefs. Moreover several actions were taken regarding wellness & psychological help developed during Covid to face student isolation.
The critical situation of the workforce has allowed us to open up to other types of catering (like high quality take away offer) and has led us to broaden the positions offered to our students on internships and placement: support services, consulting, research and development, in conjunction with our Research Centre and our network of professionals and partner companies. The critical situation of the workforce has allowed us to open up to other types of catering (such as high-quality takeaway offers) and has led us to broaden the positions offered to our students on internships and placement: support services, consulting, research and development, in conjunction with our Research Centre and our network of professionals and partner companies.
The impact on international tourism and professional mobility is now decreasing and international students are back in France. Since then, students’ expectations towards connecting to the world and their values have been integrated into our programs and on our campus, as part of a social and environmental responsibility. The race to overtourism has given way to a virtuous localism, the strengthening of local site policies and the sharing of good practices.
Continuing Education in Culinary Arts, Pastry and Food Service is facing a lot of demand of by professionals who took advantage of the lockdowns to train. Companies made use of this period to dynamize the human capital of their staff members, including on the managerial aspects of the jobs.
Another motivating challenge of the COVID crisis which we still have to face is student’s need for more individualized, close support and coaching. Our students are rightfully expecting to be considered not only as competent professionals but also as young and conscientious world citizens with great potential and talent to develop. They ask us to help them and allow them to boost different types of skills (soft, hard, mad), all of which they consider to be invaluable for their future employment.
This new generation also seeks trust and reassurance in relation to their future. Thus, the digital transformation of education and the digitization of services, which is specific to this industry, must also be accompanied by a strengthening of social and human links as well as significant support from teachers, Hospitality professionals and academic researchers.