Perspectives on training for the local café industry : how well does the hospitality training provided by institutional providers meet the expectations of local café stakeholders? : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master in Education (Adult Education) at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

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Massey University
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The researcher holds a hypothesis about tacit differences in motivation behind training for the hospitality industry in New Zealand. Trainees have long held that there are differences between the experience of training in a tertiary institute and the realities of the workplace. These perceptions prompted this study of the values placed upon formal institutional training among a sample of owners, managers, and supervisors in the local café sector. The local café sector is known for its vibrancy, informality and unregulated approach to hospitality. The sector is a proliferation of small businesses which operates in a competitive environment. This study explores the relationship between small locally operated cafes and formal training of the kind fostered by polytechnics and similar institutions. The findings show there is little reliance on formal training or qualifications in the sector. There is a mixed attitude towards the hiring of staff members who have formal training. Some local café management views the qualifications and formal training with indifference. The main factor in employing new workers in the sector is 'experience' and in some cases, intrinsic qualities like 'personality' are important. This sector is largely made up of small business run by independent owner-operators. Competition in the sector is intense, and profit margins are small. Café employees are not generally well rewarded for their qualifications, and there is little in the workplace culture that may distract or inhibit the desire of workers to train formally. There is more evidence of formal institutional training and gaining of qualifications among cooking staff in cafes than front-of-house areas, signifying that cookery is an area of speciailised skill and features more as a career choice. While the management of local cafes will sometimes seek to hire qualified staff, they accept the lack of them. Management of local cafes who have themselves in the past been trained in formal institutional programmes are more likely to see benefits in employing people who have undergone similar training. This study concludes that formal institutional training is not a necessity in the local café sector, and that generally this sector views formal training to be of lesser relevance. As in most small businesses, cafes show that the need to survive commercially over-rides the propensity employers may have to improve the professional standing of their employees. Many employers will train employees on-the-job with the skills immediately necessary for the commercial well-being of their cafe. Local café managers have little energy or time to promote formal training programmes, and are content to accept that many of their employees will not be formally trained. The relationship between the content of traditional institutional training programmes and the skills required in the informal environment of the local café industry is somewhat incompatible.
New Zealand, Coffee shops, Training of employees, Coffeehouses