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Hospitality, tourism and leisure sector are `careers of choice', students told

Tim McGarry in discussion with chef Michael Deane at the Home Grown and Growing student event

HUNDREDS of hospitality students gathered to learn more about the "endless opportunities" that exist in the sector.

About 500 students took part in Home Grown and Growing, hosted by the Northern Ireland Branch of the Institute of Hospitality.

The event highlighted opportunities for students to thrive in the exciting and expanding sector.

It also provided an interactive platform for players in the industry to engage with students and educators.

Students from all colleges and Ulster University attended alongside many employers who promoted their venues and career prospects.

With many new hotels and restaurants opening in Belfast, the conference heard hospitality was a growth industry.

Those attending were told that the hospitality, tourism and leisure sector should be viewed as a career of choice.

Marianne Hood, chair of the Northern Ireland Branch, said this was the largest student conference to date.

"We hope that the event has encouraged and inspired these undergraduates that talented people rise fast, if they have the right attitude," she said.

"Events like this help to get the message out to young people that the hospitality industry has changed for the better over recent years. Working conditions are improving, including better working hours, and rates of pay.

"If we want our hospitality industry to thrive, we need to make it an attractive career prospect for young people. We have a duty of care to create pathways to match skilled students with the right roles in a sector that so desperately needs them."

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