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Episode 13: Building Skills for the Future with Jeremy Dahdi

Episode 13: Building Skills for the Future with Jeremy Dahdi

In this episode, Ragnar talks with Jeremy Dahdi, Executive Director of International and Digital Credentials at City & Guilds. Through the strategic development of awarding, assessing and credentialing learners and employees across the globe, Jeremy is helping to bring tomorrow’s skills to today, preparing people for the future from education to digital badging.

For 142 years, City & Guilds has maintained a vision focused on people, skills, and jobs. A charity not-for-profit organization, their goal is to ensure that, whoever you are, you have the right skills to thrive both now and in the future.

Founded in 1878, The City and Guilds of London Institute was created by the Corporation of the City of London and 16 livery companies (the Guilds), to protect and promote the standard of technical education. A royal charter to this day, their President is Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, who took over this role from His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, in 2011.

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It’s all in a name. City & Guilds was created by London’s 16 Livery Companies and the city. Many of these guilds date back hundreds of years to the early Middle Ages.

Yet their work extends far beyond the UK. In more than 80 countries, City & Guilds is tapping into potential to help people develop the skills they need to get their first job, progress on to higher levels, and become globally mobile. They’ve already impacted the lives of 4 million individuals.

Creating the workforce of tomorrow, connectivity with employers helps to ensure that City & Guilds vocational education programs are relevant to the needs of today, and evolving for the skills of the future. “If you’re doing the same thing as you were doing yesterday, you’re going backwards,” says Jeremy. Organizations and individuals alike must keep pace with the changing times. City & Guilds have made it their mission to help.

Changing times have perhaps never been more apparent than now, with a global pandemic reshaping the world on a weekly basis. For the future of skills post COVID-19, Jeremy sees a need to rebuild confidence in people. Consumers must be reassured that when they go out, it’s safe, and that hospitality spaces are safe. This new focus on health and safety, and on projecting an image with the highest standards in sanitization and care – it requires new skills.

To meet this new “duty of care,” training institutions will of course be key. But perhaps more crucial is the employer response. With many professionals not having gone through formal schooling, the industry must look to employers. “There is a massive emphasis on employers doing the right thing and ensuring that their staff are suitably skilled.” For the culinary industry, Worldchefs together with City & Guilds are helping the industry to achieve this, so that employers know who to turn to for help.

What Jeremy has seen from employers thus far has been encouraging. Part of ensuring survival is “adapting your organization, gutting your business and adapting your staff,” says Jeremy. “A lot of organizations are not shutting down. They’re doing everything possible to keep trading and keep moving forward.”

Adapting to the “new normal” for many employers has meant upskilling and multiskilling their staff. Going beyond new health and safety training, we’ve seen a new priority on creating more diversity in skills so that a core staff can support each other with greater mobility. Companies that are better situated to strengthen their teams already have invested in understanding and recognizing the skills of their staff and their potential for growth.

Enter Global Hospitality Certification. “We’ve mapped out every single role and behind every role we’ve defined: What does good look like? What is a great commis chef? What is a great reception host? What does a great multisite director look like?” It’s not just about the hard skills to do the job, but also about the soft skills and the behaviors unique to each role that make the difference in an exemplary candidate.

Created in partnership with Worldchefs and employers, Global Hospitality Certification is the first and only professional skills framework in the world. It has been co-designed with industry professionals to recognise the skills and experience of those working in hospitality.

A global benchmark, Certification also supports employers to match their talent to a new standard. The result is a positive effect on all the employees, with recognition of their skills in the form of a digital credential. With this digital badge, they’re able to show off their skills on social media, professional networking sites like LinkedIn, through email and of course on their CV.

An immensely powerful tool, digital credentials allow individuals to market their skills. “This is showcasing their talents and showcasing their skills. And it’s a beautiful way to overtly recognize what they do well,” says Jeremy. Whereas a paper certificate ends up gathering dust, a digital badge makes skills visible and global. It can literally jump off the page – a single click and the credential can be verified.

Digital badges also provide invaluable data helping organizations to better understand their skill economy. “It leaves a digital map of what you’ve done and where they’ve gone,” says Dahdi. For the organization, they are able to see traces of their badge-holders, from how many times it was shared on Facebook to how long an individual has been in the industry. With this data now visible, it creates new opportunities to engage with alumni, learners, and staff. What’s more, companies can co-brand the badge for additional marketing power.

Inevitably, as we well know, many employers can’t retain their staff amid the crisis. Jeremy wants employers to recognize their responsibility to empower their staff in both their current role and in finding their next job. He’s calling on employers to say: “I have a duty to make sure that even those people were letting go, we’ve given them the best support we can to help them into another job because ultimately we’re all human. We’re all suffering through this pandemic. And we really do have a duty to help each other through this.”

Global Hospitality Certification offers “a first chance to actually receive a full certification from an awarding body,” says Jeremy. It’s a moment of great pride as well as professional development, whether you’re employed, underemployed, or searching for a new opportunity. It is not just limited to employers. Anyone can apply to certify their skills independently. Candidates submit evidence to demonstrate that they have skills to match a certification level, and once reviewed can achieve a digital badge.

If you’re looking to bolster your company’s people strategy, help your alumni stand out from the crowd, define your own career pathway or create a skills bridge to a new industry, Global Hospitality Certification.

Resources

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To learn more about how Global Hospitality Certification can benefit your organization, school, or career, visit www.worldchefs.org/global-hospitality-certification.

To explore the digital badges you can earn, click here or on the badge to the left. Then you can take the first step towards showcasing what you can do.

To read a feature on Global Hospitality Certification, check out the latest issue of Worldchefs Magazine.

For more insight on the future of work in hospitality and the importance of skills, tune in to our Digital Week July session with industry experts here.

Acknowledgements

Special thanks to Jeremy Dahdi for joining us.

World on a Plate is supported by Nestlé Professional, making more possible.

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