The Department of Tourism and Hospitality at Cork Institute of Technology is a key provider of highly skilled personnel for the hugely successful hospitality and catering sector.
The Irish Hotels Federation, Restaurants Association of Ireland and Fáilte Ireland act as advisors on course development, and judge the annual awards.
The course at the campus at CIT, Bishopstown, Cork, houses 650 students who are studying disciplines such as Beverage Industry Management, Hospitality Management and Studies, Culinary Arts and Studies, along with Tourism Management.
The facilities in the department include a Training Bar, a Training Restaurant, a Demonstration Kitchen, Classroom Kitchens and IT Laboratories.
Aaron Mansworth, chair of the Cork Branch of the Irish Hotels Federation, says the IHF also hosts the sector’s annual Employee of the Year awards to recognise excellence in the industry. He said the awards are going from strength to strength.
“This event is always a wonderful occasion as we recognise the commitment of our team members and it is a fantastic opportunity to showcase all that is positive in our industry throughout Cork,” Mr Mansworth said.
“The award not only contributes to a considerable increase in profile for the winner, but is also notable in offering a platform to promote the work of the winning hotel to its customers, suppliers and employees.”
Rochestown Park Hotel has figured prominently in the awards, with Michelle Dorgan and Lauren Hogan winning top prize in successive years. Michelle Dorgan is the most recent winner, having beaten 21 others to the prestigious title.
“I am very proud to have won the award,” said Michelle Dorgan. “I started working in the hotel when I was 18 years of age I began in the food and beverage department and they allowed me to progress through the hotel based on my college qualifications. I am delighted with the challenges and opportunities that the award has presented.”
The CIT tourism and hospitality department promotes studies in the industry through Cork and has partnered with the local branch of the Irish Hotels Federation to run Roadshows in east and West Cork, along with Cork City, pitched at transition year students and those with an interest in the industry.
The department also runs mini-roadshows within schools in Cork, which include both ‘mocktail’ and culinary demonstrations, in an effort to better inform students about the opportunities in the hospitality and tourism industries.
Part-time courses are a vital opportunity to link with the greater hospitality industry in Cork and programmes offered include a BA in Culinary Arts, an Advanced Certificate in Professional Cookery and a Day Release National Traineeship in Professional Cookery.
These courses are ideal for those who are working in industry and want to gain a professional qualification, allowing them to work while studying a number of days each week over a two-year period. Other evening programmes include Bakery, Pastry, Professional Bar Operations, Mixology & Cocktails, Food Photography and Styling and Management courses.