I work in hospitality and fear losing my job. How do I upskill?

Ask Brian: Many underestimate the wide range of skills they have acquired

Consider the skills you have and name them. Photograph: iStock

Consider the skills you have and name them. Photograph: iStock


I ’ve been working in areas linked to hospitality for the past 20 years. With the current coronavirus turmoil, my job is in jeopardy. I’ve been thinking for quite a while about checking what upskilling opportunities are available to me to help me progress my career.

From your email I can see that you have developed a lot of experience and skills in your career over the past two decades.

Often, people in your circumstances who have developed a wide range of skills do not realise how valuable these skills are; or how transferable they are to other careers. In short, there are lots of education and upskilling opportunities available to help progress your career.

You are not unique in how you are feeling, and I get many queries from others looking for similar advice. Finding the right job can be a challenging, exciting or even daunting process, whatever your reason. However, a range of supports and resources are available to you.

Firstly, there is a process called recognition of prior learning (RPL) which can be applied to any adult worker. Consider the skills you have and name them.

In deciding about your next career or education path, you may want to seek one of my professionally trained guidance counsellor colleagues at the Institute of Guidance Counsellors (www.igc.ie/Supports/Private-Practitioners).

The Adult Education Guidance Services (AEGS) in Ireland is a free and confidential guidance service available to adults who are thinking about returning to education.

Although usually based in an Education and Training Board, the service gives advice on career options beyond this sector as well. Contact your nearest ETB to make an appointment and explore your options.

Unique career file

CareersPortal.ie is also a valuable tool to support your research for courses, apprenticeship and employment options. You can create your unique career file which will provide you with a range of tools to explore your best fit with the world of work and education.

A helpful self-assessment exercise on CareersPortal is the “interest profiler”. Completing the exercise will highlight what jobs and educational courses would be most suited to you. It takes about 10 minutes to complete and will generate your unique eight-page career interest report.

To complete it, start by clicking “join” on the website and follow the instructions. You can also complete a personality assessment in relation to what career areas might suit you, and save occupations of interest to you and details of related courses in further education and training as well as higher education.