Artwork for podcast Hospitality Meets... with Phil Street
#040 - Hospitality Meets Simon Lewis - The Energetic Training Guru
Episode 4014th October 2020 • Hospitality Meets... with Phil Street • Phil Street
00:00:00 01:11:12

Share Episode


In the 2nd of our delves into the world of training & development, we chat to Simon Lewis, Operations Manager at HIT Training (

We talk about Training, the future, getting out, The media, Hospitality options, transformer pyjamas, special biscuit tins, crashing tractors, evolution, golf, 19 crimes wine, networking, masks and so much more as well as Simon's wonderful and hilarious journey.

Simon talks with such energy, it's clear he's doing what he's supposed to be doing. Also look out for some hilarious anecdotes from his life story so far.

Thanks Simon


Show Transcription


people, hospitality, absolutely, organisation, programmes, industry, work, training, person, job, chef, learning, part, point, support, literally, remember, day


Simon Lewis, Phil Street

Phil Street 00:01

Welcome to hospitality meets with me Phil street where we take a light hearted look into the stories and individuals that make up the wonderful world of hospitality. Today's guest is Simon Lewis, Operations Manager for HIT training in the UK. Coming up on today's show... Simon conjures up some warm and fuzzy moments from his childhood,

Simon Lewis 00:22

This little boys skipping along with his with his basket collecting the eggs in the morning.

Phil Street 00:27

We all wonder how we ended up talking about this... And in the meantime, you can still have the odd day of working from home in your Bumblebee pyjamas And Simon wins the award for the most original sentence on the show so far...

Simon Lewis 00:39

Within about 15 minutes I had an... well I say 15 minutes, after the sheep were put back in

Phil Street 00:44

All that and so much more as Simon talks us through his story and journey to date along with some hilarious anecdotes from his life so far. Don't forget to give us a like and share across your favourite social channels. Enjoy. Hello and welcome to the next edition of hospitality meets with me Phil Street. Today I'm joined by someone from the world of training and development, a fellow and committee member at the Institute of hospitality London, an advisory board member at Springboard, UK Operations Manager at HIT training, which is what he does for a day job pro... I can't even say this prolific pantomime performer, and all around nice guy Simon Lewis, welcome to the show.

Simon Lewis 01:23

Oh, thank you my love prolific pantomime performer. That was a lot of p's all in one sentence.

Phil Street 01:30

Yeah, I didn't realise that as I wrote that.

Simon Lewis 01:33


Phil Street 01:34

Saying it was going to be the greatest challenge of my day.

Simon Lewis 01:37

How are you? You alright?

Phil Street 01:39

Yeah, great. How are you doing?

Simon Lewis 01:41

feeling alright now? I mean, it's a bit dreary outside. And I'm just getting used to the fact of all my different zoom meetings that you end up doing. And anybody who hasn't been through the stage yet where you've spent the day in your pyjamas, and you're Homer Simpson slippers, then you're lying because we know you know, you know that everybody's actually done it. Or when someone turns around and they say, Oh, yeah, my, my camera's not working again, and you're like really that means you're not you're not dressed are you, you just got up and ironically before it was even me for coming on here with you. So that's all I get. Make sure do my hair and I'm not Simon, what do you doing? What What? What? What? Why are you trying to smarten yourself up? No one can see ya. Isn't it weird?

Phil Street 02:26

No, absolutely. Why the I went very early on into using this platform that I use, which is not video orientated because obviously it's not a video content that I'm churning out.

Simon Lewis 02:40

What you're saying you saying I've got a face radio?

Phil Street 02:42

I say that about myself?

Simon Lewis 02:43


Phil Street 02:45

Yes. And we're in good company.

Simon Lewis 02:49

Good, good. Good shout.

Phil Street 02:51

Yeah. So yeah, well, maybe you could kick things off by by giving us a rough overview of who you are and what you do.

Simon Lewis 02:58

So I don't know if I can beat that lovely introduction that you just gave me. But yeah, Hello, my name is My name is ... Do you know what this this feels like? I feel like I'm on a dating site. I like this. Really, my name is Simon, I am 40 years old.

Phil Street 03:14

You didn't have to say that actually?

Simon Lewis 03:16

Well, I thought I'd throw it in there. I work out regularly now. And also for a day job. I have Yeah. So I work as the Operations Manager for one of the operations managers for training. And I'm responsible for overseeing the company's business operations. Hence, in terms of within the title, I work really closely in partnership with our head of quality and head of curriculum. And my job role is pretty much is making sure that what we do is consistent across the country, for our learner journey, in line with what our business partners need from us and looking at different sort of ideas and different concepts of what we can do in terms of to support the industries that we work with. So if you look at that for most recently is things like for so where we've been working, I've been working on some projects around preparing apprentices for the post pandemic, and the future of hospitality. Yeah, so looking at different things that people can do. So principles of infection control, awareness for first aid, customer service in the New World, managing change, building resilience. So looking at ways the as an organisation that we can adapt our learning, I'd love to take all the credit for doing this, but we've got a lot of people in the background that actually do a lot of the work as well. However, I don't mind saying it. But it's about about preparing people and their business for our post COVID future really, and starting to look at sort of sort of projects like that. So that's that's just just a short glimpse in terms of the last couple of weeks, basically.

Phil Street 04:55

So not only are you a trainer of people, you You know, a futurist, because you've kind of you've had to come up with training ideas based around a concept that none of us really know what the other side looks like.

Simon Lewis 05:11

Absolutely. And I think that we're quite lucky with the organisation that we work with, because we've got a sister company called connect to care, who've always worked in terms of with mental health and working across the care industry. So working in partnership with those guys is brilliant. So that because in terms of it, hospitality has always had infection control, but then taking it to a whole new level. And really understanding that drawing in on on other people within the business is just great. And you notice expect to learn new things.

Phil Street 05:42

Yep, absolutely. So give us a kind of a rough guide as to the sorts of things that you that you train and also your what you generally are doing at the moment as a company.

Simon Lewis 05:55

So our main delivery is around apprenticeship programmes and being able to support and develop people through the industry. So anything from somebody who wants to start out as a chef, we run a number of chef academies, when we get back to doing them for face to face, right here, right now, we are delivering the same quality product online. So we've got a number of masterclasses that we've been delivering, do interactive online workshops. I only looked today, and in one day alone, there was about 19 different workshops that were just being ran today across the sector's so including things like for customer service, management and leadership, understanding shellfish coffee off the top of my head, what were they they were, but there's bear game. So huge array in terms of for different things that are available on that there, we've also been looking at our new employment support programme for hospitality, retail. And that and that's basically is because, unfortunately, with with what's happened in the background, we know that there's a number of workers who've recently been made redundant, understanding how difficult it is, and it's it can be quite stressful at these these sort of times. So what we did was we put together a redundancy support programme, right for re entering the world of work again, post COVID-19, helping to boost CVS preparing for online interviews, as part of the programme then also, again, looking at customer service, most importantly, just about the prevention and control of infection, managing change and actually building resilience. And so that yes, so that that's sort of that sort of encompasses just some some of the stuff that we've been looking at, we're looking at a number in terms of for different job boards of looking at, for people for coming back, for people who want to join the industry in the future. So you know, there's almost like 11, 11,000 different people who actually didn't want to join in it since with the industry for the future. Don't quote me on the on the actual number, because it might be more it might be slightly less, but you know, we're looking at, you know, 10s thousands of people here who still want would want to come into the industry. And as an industry, we've done such a big job. And I say we that's collectively in terms of with with everybody across across the sector, and including the brilliant job that UK hospitality have done in terms of raising the profile for hospitality. Yeah. And then knocked back in terms of for now for as an industry is, it's important that we play our part as an organisation in terms of supporting young people that still want to come into the industry, looking at how it works. And we work very closely with springboard. But working with schools and looking at again, how we can re educate instance with people looking at in terms of we've got a number of short courses that we run and again for free for people that want to still want to make the sorts of join the industry but want to taste that they want to know what it's like to not full on sort of food safety for some of the basics and getting people re entered but really energised in terms and wanting to come and join the sector. Because at the moment, you know, you look at the press and even over the last sort of few weeks is, you know, from an outside point of view, you can say well, they were this these pumps that were closed that was opened. So they say pub... start that again, you've got pubs within an hour of the hotel. ...You've got the hospitality.

Phil Street 09:22

Put your teeth in Simon

Simon Lewis 09:24

I know I'm not good. We've got the hospitality industry that was the first to close. Yeah, and then the last to reopen, or one of the last now's to reopen. So we've got so many against over the weekend, you know recently over loss of life for the weekends. And so where we've got places that have opened and again then when you start seeing tonnes of outbreaks of the virus in pockets of areas, it's not everywhere. And the interesting thing with that is that and again some people will read one article and they'll think that that's absolutely everywhere. Yeah and either in terms of the you know, the local views down the road from me really cute little Pump country pub. And they've done an absolutely amazing job good clear sort of flow system first for making sure that the social distancing is upheld, making sure that it's not over capacity in terms of in their beer garden. And you know, there's this, there's no case of that, and they've listened to the advice, listen to the guidance, and they've, they've made a huge, huge difference. And again, you know, I look in terms of our colleagues that work, have been working really hard at looking at how they can get the hotels reopened. And the measures that have been put into place in the background of following interns with the guidance, and rebuilding customers to come back in. And the press doesn't always help in terms of the fact when it can be quite negative about our sector. So it's important, for sure, and collectively, that we all work together into earnings. And we actually, you know, we what's it called Instagram, I'm not down with the kids. So we do the Instagram of the the places that we've been to, if I was cool enough, I would do that. But I'm not to tweet about, again, places that we've been to the good times that we've had, and, and again, to take those photographs of that that social distancing. And that's not about showing off as an individual that's about showing off and supporting and marketing these businesses that are reopen, that are doing it safely, and to show that, you know, they places have got a limit might have limited menus or a different service style, but it's just different. And definitely to check it out. And because you will have a good time, and it is a good experience. So, you know, that's the type of thing and I think they didn't know if every single person talks about somewhere that they've been in a great experience that we had, that that word of mouth of hospitality was the most powerful?

Phil Street 11:41

Absolutely. So what you're basically saying is, it's your duty to get out into the pubs and restaurants of the world and, and enjoy their wares and and share that with the world as to all of look at all of the good stuff that's happening.

Simon Lewis 11:56

I mean, absolutely, you know, and I'm down for a gin and tonic with anyone. I didn't know that about you Yeah I mean, really? Or a glass of wine or a beer or two.

Phil Street 12:08

Yeah. No, I completely agree with you on the point of the the media that the I think there, there's been quite all the way through this. And maybe it was very prevalent beforehand as well, that there's there's been a lot of irresponsible headline making. And even just this morning, there was this headline about you know pubs close after you know three days after reopening. The headline itself makes it sound like all pubs are closing. But across the UK, they were talking about three pubs. And there's always going to be isolated localised incidents, on the back of something like this sort of come up with headlines like that, I just think is really, really poor. And yeah, for me, they've they've basically just become peddlers of failure. That's that's all they all they care about is is reporting on failure.

Simon Lewis 12:59

And it's unfair actually on the on the because it doesn't make as good a headline of the dog and duck down the road has done a really good job in terms of what they were doing because it you know, it's not it's not as gripping and as as exciting and all I kind of think is it we'll move on to something else soon enough, and I can say is that if people can just constantly just share their good news stories and the great things that go on, actually those types of things that can be celebrated. And that's why I think as an industry, we're really lucky with our trade magazine. So with the caterer for example, that they do a really good job of actually of off celebrating I agree our industry and, and, and celebrating in terms of and putting out there in terms of the different things that we actually do. And I could say things like for UK hospitality and there's a number of different people and professional leaders that have appeared I've seen on a regular basis that from the BI that have appeared on the news talking about this as preopening and and here's what we're now doing in terms of with opening and it's it's pushed pushing the story in terms of it in the right way. For what what we need to do and basically is that actually is that our industry is is an amazing one to be in. I'm it makes me so proud. I absolutely love everything about hospitality. I've not actually worked in any other sector. It's something that I've always known. It's something I've always done. And it's so important that other people get that feel and also an even if you don't work in the industry that that they still carry on going out and actually and experiencing and booked into a local b&b. It is going to be to go down to the beach. I'm not talking in terms of the big crowds that we had at Bournemouth only a few weeks ago, but in terms of for a social distancing and supporting the local ice cream van, get you know getting a bag of fish and chip, names, food being able to or any other I'm popping somewhere for a beer going somewhere for lunch, I made myself sound like we're all I'm actually all I should do is eat and drink, but it's but that hospitality is just is one of those sectors that literally, that is just, it's just something that once someone's experienced, you wouldn't want to not come out of so when when anybody sort of says to me about being so for a career in hospitality, I would say that you can get these are the skills that you can use in any any single job. But if you look at something like a lawyer will train to persuade someone, an engineer, will be trained to fix something. Anybody who works in hospitality is somebody who can make you happy. And that's, that's what hospitality is. And you know, it gives you the great chance to create, you know, this, this extended family whilst you're working, it gives you the opportunity to travel, it gives you a skill set that you can take anywhere worldwide, you learn to work as part of a team you learn how to adapt through through changes, and no career is actually is easy whatsoever. Yeah. If anyone's ever unsure in terms of what you know, work wise or to get get involved in the sector. Well, apart from what I've just said, against we've got people that you know, that were part part time. There's a lot of people who work in, in our industry that are at uni, and then all of a sudden then they go, actually, you know what, I'm going to work work part time at the same time and then they realise that actually they're their degree in geography isn't actually what they want to do at all and make great contributions to our industry. So yeah, so I side track there but I get I get so excited about the fact of safer for the future. And, and what we can do is I'm just looking at you know, overall for politics, he's been in my blood since since I was a kid from growing up growing up on a farm really,

Phil Street 16:58

so you quite like it then at Well

Simon Lewis 17:00

yeah, you know, I could say what makes me chuckle is the amount of people that got all the early you know, will you know be mad at work in early morning or late night and I kind of think when I when I was growing up, I...



More from YouTube