Network Learning & Development Strategy 2023 – 2025

By | Membership, News | No Comments

Network Strategy 2023 – 2025

The Restaurant & Hospitality Skillnet are in the process of planning our 2023 – 2025 network strategy for submission for Skillnet Ireland funding later this year. This funding will allow us to continue developing and delivering learning and development activities and programmes for the restaurant and hospitality industry.

Over the last 3 years we have developed and delivered a range of programmes and initiatives, including:

  • Food & Beverage Skills training
  • Customer Care training
  • Professional Kitchen Management
  • Management Development & Leadership Programmes
  • Positive Wellbeing
  • 3 levels of Certified Hospitality e-learning programmes
  • Restaurant & Hospitality Skills/ Rebrand Yourself programmes for Jobseekers
  • Digital Standard Operating Procedures
  • We are currently developing:
  • LEAN e-learning programme – Creating Continuous Improvements in F&B
  • Sustainability for Small Hospitality Business e-learning programme
  • Basic English Language course for hospitality
  • Research report focusing on attracting and retaining talent

Over the next 3 years we will continue to run a range of learning and development initiatives, including public courses, in company training, and workshops which will be delivered through different methods – in person, virtual and blended.  We will also continue to run our range of e-learning training programmes.

What do we need from industry? 

Working with industry over the coming weeks to determine the skills and knowledge needs of employers, employees and jobseekers will be vital for a successful application. We are looking to engage with industry members to discuss how we can help meet the training/learning and development needs of industry.

What do we need to know from industry? 

We need to know:

  • high-level trends, opportunities and threats facing industry
  • current skills gaps amongst employees
  • training courses and initiatives employers need for employees
  • training budgets and preferred method of delivery for training
  • additional resources industry need to attract and retain talent (research, frameworks, competency models)
  • future skills needs (digital, sustainability, SME leadership, workforce innovation)
  • what skills/knowledge new entrants to the sector need to have

How will we do this? 

We will be doing this through one to one calls with members, a number of focus groups and an online survey.

How can you be involved? 

  1. Complete our Training Needs Analysis here: 
  2. Register for our virtual Focus Groups on September 7th & 8th by emailing our Network Manager Niamh –

Contact us

  • Email:
  • Phone: 01 6779901


Launch of Clear Customs Online 2020, preparing businesses for customs changes

By | Membership | No Comments

Skillnet Ireland has launched the second phase of the ‘Clear Customs’ programme as part of the Government Brexit Readiness Action Plan. The free online training programme developed by Skillnet Ireland will be delivered by CILT Skillnet virtually and is accredited by Carlow Institute of Technology.

By the end of 2020, businesses, trading either with or through the UK, will be subject to a range of new customs formalities and other regulatory requirements. Clear Customs offers free essential online customs training to Customs intermediaries, and to businesses who frequently trade with or through the UK, or to jurisdictions outside the EU Customs Union.

The Clear Customs training programme is targeted at Irish businesses, or others acting on behalf of businesses such as customs intermediaries. Features include an ‘on-the-go’ mobile app upon registration that will help customs agents, intermediaries and affected Irish businesses develop the capacity to deal with additional customs requirements. All businesses that trade with or through the UK need to act now to be prepared.

In order to ensure your business is customs ready, please apply for Clear Customs Online training now.

3 Steps to Successfully Lead Remote Teams

By | Membership | No Comments

By Cariona Neary

Things fall apart the centre cannot hold. Commentators frequently invoke Yeats’ lines when describing a chaotic situation. Most of us have  emerged from those early chaotic days of converting our hospitality teams to 100% virtual. And we’re managing. Or are we? This new working world demands a different standard of leadership from us all. As we prepare to re-open for business, how can we help everyone feel part of a great team again?

The pressures on teams are considerable. As leaders, we need to create stability, managing both for well-being and results. Our hospitality organisations are seeking to build agility to survive and even thrive in a global economy that is struggling to function. Our team members are facing their own challenges, with home schooling, uncertainty about future employment and maybe even health issues. People in the hospitality business thrive on the buzz of interacting with colleagues and guests. For many, both leaders and staff,  the lack of personal interaction is truly challenging.  If you can show strong leadership in this situation, you can be assured that you will thrive in any situation!


Leading Remote Teams Successfully
The Challenge

People working remotely can become ‘detached’ from the team. How can we build that strong team spirit as we get ready to re-open our businesses?

The Solution

Spend time building up your virtual team goals. Be clear about roles and responsibilities. Keep everything short-term and focused. Look after both well-being and results.

Takeaway Actions

Use your new short term goals to stabilise your team. Communicate until it hurts! Build trust with lots of feedback. Communicate confidence in your team but also acknowledge the stress people are experiencing.

  1. Plan for Short Term Goals

Your plan will be built on some key pillars, regardless of whether you run a restaurant, hotel or bar: Staff needs, Customer needs, Cost control, New Revenue Streams, Redesigning requirements. You can plan around these pillars by taking a short term focus, for example, three-week sprints, assigning specific roles and responsibilities for team members to contribute during the sprint. Since the pandemic, research on remote teams has shown that roles and responsibilities are too unclear for many and this is leading to low morale. The ‘sprint’ approach can help you overcome this challenge.

  1. Communicate until it Hurts!

Remember that great phrase, you’re checking in, not checking up! Use daily Check Ins to help set people’s focus for the day. Listen for new ideas. Just because you’re the leader does not mean you have to have all the answers! A weekly call in from your most senior manager can help keep the team motivated. Each meeting format should be contributing to your Planning Pillars. Focus on providing lots of positive feedback to keep up people’s morale. After each sprint, celebrate, review, learn, reset.

  1. Show Confidence and Support in your Team

Supportive leadership will require a two-pronged approach. While you need to focus on short term results, you also need to acknowledge the real stress and anxiety that your people may be experiencing. Show your confidence in your team with phrases such as “Let’s look at our strengths here and see how we can build on those”, “What do our customers really love about coming here. How can we provide that feeling in this new environment?” “I know this is tough but we’re going to handle this together”…. By asking your team for their help and ideas you show confidence in your collective ability to work through this challenging time.

And to finish with Yeats, “All has changed, changed utterly”. Strong leadership can be a reassuring constant in these challenging times.

Cariona Neary is a trainer and consultant to the Hospitality sector working with Fáilte Ireland for over fifteen years as well as Ireland’s leading organisations in the hotel and restaurant sector. She has just completed a series of webinars, co-hosted with leadership expert, Karl O’Connor,  on Leading Change, Managing Remote Teams and Leading Service that Sells with the RHS Skillnet. The above article is based on her workshops on leading remote teams. For further information on any of Cariona’s webinars, contact Niamh O’Malley. All training  bookings can be made via:

For further information on Cariona Neary visit or contact her at


How to Lead Your Hospitality Business Successfully Through Change

By | All, Events, News | No Comments


By Cariona Neary

Never has it been more challenging for leaders in the hospitality business. Yes, owners and managers of restaurants and hotels are used to leading through crisis, it happens every other night when we’re running a busy kitchen or you unexpectedly get a very late but valuable booking. But this time of uncertainty is a very different beast and the industry is looking for ways to cope and to manage the situation with some clarity.

The Restaurant and Hospitality Skillnet has been hosting a series of webinars on Leading through Change that have been so heavily attended that Niamh O’Malley ran five repeat webinars to deal with the demand from the industry. We want to bring you the most important ideas from this webinar series to help you to find direction at a time of intense and rapid change. We also want to share some of the great ideas leaders from the industry shared with each other during the webinars.

You’re not the only one feeling overwhelmed!

As we kicked off each webinar, we asked participants how they were feeling. The answers were remarkably consistent across the five workshops. Owners and managers were feeling worried, overwhelmed and scared. We shared an article from the Harvard Business Review on the impact of change on our emotions. Based on the feelings of grief, as we realise we are losing something we   value, in this case our business, people can feel anger and despair. These emotions are typical reactions to what we now know is the ‘Change Curve’, a phenomenon we also experience as a type of ‘grief’. In the webinar we explored how we evolve our thinking as we travel through the Change Curve, eventually reaching an acceptance of our new situation.

As leaders, we need to find our way through the Change Curve and find ways to manage our own emotions and, most importantly, be strong and supportive leaders to our colleagues and family because they are also facing their own emotional challenges.

How to Lead through the Change Curve

The goal of managers must be to help themselves and their key team members to focus on what they can do rather than being overwhelmed with thoughts about things they can’t control. Getting through this time of uncertainty is about ‘Change in 100 small steps’. One participant, Shane Treacy, MD of the Mercantile Group, a leading Irish hospitality group of nine bars and restaurants, including Café en Seine, Whelan’s and The George, suggested that the industry can use this time to plan. In his business, he is working with his team to brainstorm a whole range of scenarios. He is scenario planning for different levels of business and working with his management team to understand how to run a business at different levels of activity, from 30% to 50%, and eventually get back to full capacity.

Another participant, Anke Hartman, runs a wine bar, restaurant and Guest House in Clifden. Seeing her business disappear after a successful opening last year left her feeling lost. When she learned about the Change Curve and talked to other hospitality business owners going through the same experience in the Zoom Breakout Sessions, she commented, “I suddenly saw where I was on the Change Curve and felt motivated to move from being stagnant to having a ‘doing’ mindset. I’ve done so much since the workshop, I’ve got the website going, I’m going to run wine tasting sessions on Zoom…”

Control the Controllables

Karl O’Connor, joined Cariona Neary on the Leading through Change webinars, bringing his wide experience of managing performance through the Change Curve to the discussion. Having worked with a range of organisations through the last financial crisis, he has deep expertise in leading through change. His big advice was for businesses to focus energy and attention on what they can control rather than allowing our emotions to become overwhelmed by worrying about things outside our control such as the economy. He also advises “Put on your oxygen mask first”. By that he means that leaders must mind themselves and look after their own mental and physical health before they can look after their team.

Top Tips for Leading Change Webinars


  • Understand the leadership challenge you face. Use the Change Curve to help you know where your mental attitude is and also to help you understand where your team is on the Curve.
  • The Change Curve can feel like a game of Snakes and Ladders. Some days you are coping well and other days you slip back and feel less purposeful. People transition through the curve at different rates so we need to show empathy and listen.
  • You don’t have all the answers. Be authentic, it’s better to ‘Tell people what you know. Tell people what you don’t know. Let’s work together to build explore different scenarios.’
  • Communicate early and often.


  • Trade in speculation. Be honest and truthful about the facts.
  • Sugarcoat the situation.

It’s a start with people beginning once again to control what they can, set short-term goals and lead through change.

At the end of each webinar, we asked people how they were feeling, now that they had shared their stories with their colleagues in the hospitality sector and also learned about how to lead through change. The language had changed from ‘worried’, ‘scared’ to ‘supported’, ‘committed’, ‘confident’.

Overall, the feedback has been very positive. Fiona Barry, Senior Sales Manager at the Kinsley Hotel in Cork said: Thanks so much, this is the best workshop I’ve done since all this started. I’ll recommend my colleagues to sign up.


Cariona Neary is a trainer and consultant to the Hospitality sector working with Failte Ireland for over fifteen years as well as Ireland’s leading organisations in the hotel and restaurant sector. The final Leading Through Change workshop takes place on 12th May. Cariona will facilitate a workshop on Leading Remote Teams on 13th May and Leading Service that Sells on Tuesday 19th May. Contact Niamh O’Malley, All bookings can be made via:


THANK YOU – A special thank you to Cariona for writing this great article for the Skillnet



By | News | No Comments

COVID – 19

**Trainees Please Note**

The Restaurant & Hospitality Skillnet is fully supportive of the Government’s efforts to effectively address and limit the spread of COVID-19 and to safeguard the protection of public health and that of our stakeholders.

Restaurant & Hospitality Skillnet management team are continuing to work and are available to discuss any queries that our businesses or trainees have regarding our scheduled training programmes and supports for businesses.

In support of this national effort, Restaurant & Hospitality Skillnet has postponed its ALL public training courses of more until 19th April 2020.

Restaurant & Hospitality Skillnet will continue to take bookings for programmes commencing in April 2020, and for our online programmes available at this link: www.rhskillnet/trainingprogramme

We are also available to discuss your queries about any other future programmes we offer to

businesses within the restaurant and hospitality sector.

Our Network contact details are:

Network Manager: Niamh O’Malley

Phone: 01 6779901


We would remind our stakeholders that the HSE website is the authoritative source of information and advice on the situation regarding COVID-19 in Ireland.

We will keep this information updated in the coming weeks. Further information is also available on the Skillnet Ireland website at:

Complete Restaurant Training – Online Programme

By | Membership | No Comments

This online course is to fully train your staff all online, for you to save money on training and time. This is for any staff members working in the restaurant and hospitality industry.


This training programme covers the following courses:

  • Fire-safety
  • Food-hygiene
  • Health & Safety
  • Manual Handling
  • Robbery & theft
  • GDPR overview
  • Sale of age-restricted goods
  • Customer service
  • Restaurants selling skills
  • Intro wine, spirits, and beers
  • Waiting skills


Member Pricing:

1 – 10 staff members €170

11- 25 staff members €340

26 – 50 staff members €680


More information available here: