How vocational training in hospitality has developed over the years

24 years: The long way from a cantonal to a federal vocational training course at the Gastgewerblichen Fachschule Graubünden.

The end of the training of "dipl. Hotel- und Gastrofachleute (qualified hotel and gastronomy professionals) also marks the beginning of a new chapter:

This summer, the last graduates of the Gastgewerblichen Fachschule Graubünden (GFG) will receive their diploma as hotel and gastronomy specialists. The aim of the course is to train allrounders for the hospitality industry. The allrounder training has been further developed in recent years and adapted to the new conditions in the industry. This opens a new chapter in the success story of GFG at EHL Hotel Management School Passugg (SSTH).

New profession covers industry needs

The new profession of "Hotel-Kommunikationsfachmann/-frau EFZ (HoKo)" (hotel communications specialists) has arisen from the needs of the industry and the demand for training places on the part of young apprentices is very high. The SSTH already carries out the training in double classes and may also start in the coming August with nearly 40 new apprentices into a new education cycle. The HoKo training is enjoying sustained demand and confirms a proven need for training.

Thanks to many years of good cooperation with the Swiss hotel industry, motivated young people can be guaranteed good training places and successfully gained new ones. It is pleasing to note that the new profession is becoming better established from year to year. The demanding 360-degree training gives apprentices the opportunity to acquire not only specialist but also personal skills such as flexibility, independence, networked thinking and good communication skills.


Milestones of the GFG

1990: Gion Schwarz, hotelier and Grand Councillor of Disentis, presents the concerns of the hospitality industry in Graubünden and recommends developing an own, state-supported hotel management school in Graubünden. Government Councillor Joachim Caluori forms a working group with the task of clarifying needs.

1993: A decision is made to set up a pilot operation, responsibility for which lies with the Chur Hotel and Tourism College (now SSTH). As a result, its director, Hans Stoessel, announces the founding of the "Gastgewerblichen Fachschule Graubünden" in Chur, and graduates of the three-year apprenticeship will receiva a diploma in hospitality management.

1995: A new cantonal apprenticeship called "Hotel- und Gastro­fachfrau/-mann"  is offered at the level of basic vocational training, graduating as a hotel and gastronomy specialist. Conrad Cadonau led the GFG in its first formative years as school principal.

2008: The training regulations will be amended in August 2008 in line with the new Vocational Training Act and the associated amended requirements. In addition to the cantonal qualification as a "Hotel- und Gastrofachfrau/-mann", the Swiss Federal Certificate of Competence as a "Restaurationsfachfrau/-mann (REFA) EFZ" will now be integrated into the GFG education programme.

2012: Beatrice Schweighauser takes as GFG school principal and implements a merger of the Chur and Passugg campuses. This brings a new school environment for the learners and other fellow students who enrich their education. A number of innovations will come into effect for the students, such as the campus regulations with the business dress code, the possibility of renting rooms in the school hotel and catering at the boutique school hotel Passugg.

2013: hotelleriesuisse takes over the sponsorship of the GFG and wants to develop a new, federal profession on the basis of the existing training.

2014: The GFG has taken a major step towards achieving its goal of a federally recognised title. On the recommendation of the Swiss Conference of Education Offices (SBBK), the State Secretariat for Education is issuing industry associations and the GFG with a preliminary ticket for the "new profession" with the working title "Hotel- und Gastrofachleute EFZ".

2014: In order to create a learning environment that is as realistic as possible for GFG learners, a training reception desk is installed in the upper school building.

2015: The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Development (SERFI) has given the go-ahead for the new profession, which is now called "Hotel-Kommunikationsfachmann/-frau EFZ" (hotel communications specialists).

2016: This summer, for the last time, a class of hotel and gastronomy professionals with 24 new apprentices started their studies at the Gastgewerblichen Fachschule Graubünden (GFG).

2017: From August 2017, the new federal recognized profession of hotel communications specialist EFZ (HoKo) will take the place of cantonal hotel and catering training. The SSTH played a key role in the development of this new education model and is the only school location in Switzerland to offer the new profession in the school-based model (SOG). A unique added value in Passugg is offered by the combination of theory and practice in the school hotel. No degree without a connection, HoKo students can continue their education at the SSTH with a Swiss Professional Degree or a Bachelor of Science.

And what is the future for vocational training in the Swiss hospitality industry?

27th of June 2019, the last class of hotel and gastronomy professionals last class of hotel and gastronomy professionals will complete their training at the SSTH and receive a diploma. The Gastgewerblichen Fachschule Graubünden will be continued under the SSTH with a focus on the new profession of hotel communications specialist EFZ (HoKo). SSTH thus continues to train committed young talent for the industry.

By the last seven years, including the new development of the training course, the school principal Beatrice Schweighauser led the training and will do this also further.